Whether sharing tapas with family or grabbing drinks with friends on State Street, Social on State is a mainstay of Downtown Binghamton’s dining scene. This Restaurant Week, Social offers a $25 three-course dinner menu that includes an appetizer, main course and dessert.
To sample the dinner, I arrived at 6:30 p.m. and was immediately escorted to a seat in the outdoor dining area. The ambiance of the outdoor eating area certainly sets the stage for an enjoyable and pleasant meal. Throwbacks like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and “Cheerleader” by OMI accompanied the calming hanging lights, establishing a relaxing environment.
After perusing the appetizer options for a few minutes, I decided on the tomato basil soup with Gorgonzola cream and a Parmesan tuille, cleverly titled the “Andy Warhol.” The Parmesan crisp provided a nice kick of saltiness when dipped in the tomato soup, and I appreciated the lightness of the dish. As opposed to an extremely heavy soup, the “Andy Warhol” was the perfect way to open your palate with a light appetizer.
I also had the opportunity to sample each of my dining partner’s dishes, starting with the mushroom toast. Caramelized shallot marmalade, house-made ricotta, thyme and mushrooms were all layered on a crispy, rounded piece of toast. Sweet with a crunch and a pleasant aftertaste, the dish made mushrooms enjoyable even for me, someone who usually doesn’t like them.
A self-proclaimed seafood fanatic, I decided that I would go for the grilled octopus main course and expand my taste buds with something unique. As they say in the movies, “When in Binghamton!” The octopus was served on a bed of chorizo, grilled potatoes, heirloom tomatoes and a squid ink drizzle. The octopus was charred perfectly and, when eaten in tandem with the tomatoes, produced a very well-rounded bite. Never having tried squid ink before, the brininess was a bit of a shock to me, but after my first taste, I really came to enjoy the flavor. The slightly spicy and intense punch of the chorizo brought the entire dish together as the most aggressive piece.
Sid decided on the crispy pork belly tacos with pineapple, pickled shallots, sweet chili sauce, queso fresco and cilantro. The ingredients came together for a very sweet bite in general that, while certainly delicious, was slightly too overpowering for a main course in my opinion. The ingredients tasted fresh, but the combination of the pineapples and sweet chili sauce masked the pork a bit and overtook the dish.
To conclude my meal, I settled on the chocolate hazelnut “Mille Feuille,” which includes a top layer of Nutella spread on top of hazelnuts and a puff pastry. Providing a bite with a lot of depth, the creaminess of the Nutella meshed perfectly with the flaky puff pastry. Sid ordered the pumpkin spice latte cheesecake with coffee whipped cream and spun sugar. Exquisitely creamy, the pumpkin and cheesecake flavors worked together incredibly as both came through equally in strength and deliciousness.
Overall, Social on State has earned one more loyal customer, and I’ve come to understand the place that this comfortable spot has in Binghamton: good food, good vibes and a unique menu to please any restaurant-goer.