If you’re the type of person who wants to try everything on the menu, Social on State ought to be your first stop this Restaurant Week. As a tapas bar, Social serves many different types of dishes in smaller portions, providing an opportunity for the adventurous eater to taste whatever they’d like.
For Restaurant Week, Social on State is offering a $25 prix fixe dinner menu, where you can select three of the tapas they have available. The benefit of this is that you can easily customize your courses to fit your eating style. The tapas options allow you to choose a variety of foods, from salads and entrée to desserts. They also have a very respectable and delicious spread of gluten-free and vegetarian options.
The whole fun of tapas is that the meal never gets old. While every dish isn’t necessarily perfect, they make up for it in how fast the flavors and styles of cuisine change. This isn’t to say that any of the dishes are bad, but some of them definitely outshine the others. The most memorable taste of the entire dinner was definitely the crispy pork belly skewers. What starts off as a succulent, spicy experience cools down once you reach the taste of grilled pineapple. They’re gluten-free, too.
Social also has some hors d’oeuvres, like the Mediterranean trio and the baked brie. These are definitely great foods to pick at if you’re going for some drinks with your friends, but don’t necessarily want a full meal. The trio comes with two types of hummus — garlic and roasted red pepper — as well as an olive tapenade.
The constant progression of flavors doesn’t just work from dish to dish, but through a single dish as well. The saltiness from the olive tapenade is reduced by the garlic hummus, which leads you right to the roasted red pepper. The flavors are constantly changing, and many of the dishes have several layers. Even the more basic items, like the baked brie, achieve a level of sophistication where every bite is as fulfilling as the last. The brie comes covered in a blackberry compote and is topped with an apple walnut arugula salad, and is the perfect size to share between two people.
This brings me to a conclusion: Social on State is a great place to take a date. While a $50 dinner date might seem a little expensive for the college budget, it’s definitely a place that will impress even the pickiest of eaters. The environment is very conducive to being social, as the name implies. The room is filled with conversation, and you can always hear the person next to you. Plus, they have an excellent bar with quick service. This month they’re promoting a Southern Tier Brewing Co. Tap Takeover, offering $9 flights of Southern Tier drafts. This is more than you might expect to pay, but the list of options has a considerable variety of excellent fall beers.
Even if you’re not on a date, the trick to tapas is to not go alone. If you’re not trying to impress a significant other, then this place should be enjoyed in as big a group as you can gather. Remember that the more people you bring, the more flavors you get to experience.
Social on State is located on 201 State St.