When asked what inspired his dishes, Jay Pisculli, the head chef at Social on State, answered “my childhood.” Social on State is anything but a restaurant for children, but its chic interior, creative dishes and buzzing atmosphere might just renew you with a childlike enthusiasm for food.
For $25, you can choose any three dishes from its Restaurant Week menu, which features 14 dishes encompassing a wide range of flavors and including a few vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options. The key to tapas, such as those served at Social on State, is sharing, so the more people you bring, the more you can get out of your experience. Luckily, I was joined by an eager dining companion — a.k.a. a Pipe Dream photographer — so we were able to choose six dishes for our feast. My dinner date, a vegetarian, had no trouble ordering off the menu.
For our first course, I ordered an arugula and burrata salad and my companion ordered the sourdough bread loaf. We soon realized that our palates were in for a roller coaster ride. The salad came topped with a tangy balsamic dressing and sprinkles of crumbled crispy prosciutto complemented by a creamy slice of mozzarella stuffed with fresh cream. The bread came dutifully tied up in a dark napkin, accompanied by a spinach, basil and pesto dip, garlic butter and an oil and vinegar dip.
For the next course, I got the mac and cheese dish. Made with smoked Gouda and served in a huge portion, the pasta artfully spilled out of its square bowl onto the plate beneath it — the chef told us it was extremely popular both in the restaurant and all over Instagram. For reference, its flavor might best be described as a much more upscale version of Panera Bread’s macaroni and cheese.
The theme of intense contrasting flavors continued in the steak I ordered next, which came topped with a tough slab of bacon. At first bite, I enjoyed the contrasting savory textures. In my next bite, I came into contact with the sweet maple glaze, which surprisingly and perfectly balanced the dish. As a self-proclaimed fan of cheese, slabs of meat and maple syrup, I was not disappointed by this course.
The first four dishes set our expectations high for dessert. The monkey bread pudding we selected was served hot, topped with salted caramel ice cream, walnut brittle and — much to my own excitement, as well as the disappointment of my vegetarian dining partner — candied bacon. On top of the complex flavor contrasts, this dessert became the grand finale in testing the elasticity of my palate by adding a layer of contrasting temperatures too.
The true finale came in the Campfire Chocolate Mousse, a dark chocolate mousse which contained two graham cracker halves and a homemade toasted marshmallow on a skewer. Pisculli later told us that he used a “smoking gun” to add that nostalgic campfire taste to the dessert.
Pisculli said that the reason he loves working at Social on State is that it allows him to be creative with his dishes. He is constantly coming up with new dishes, adding new features to the menu each week. This innovation has allowed the restaurant to put out a different menu for every Restaurant Week they’ve participated in.
Social on State provides a fun, flavorful dining experience that makes for an exciting night out with friends, family or a significant other. For $25, the Restaurant Week menu offers a generous number of choices that will take you on a culinary adventure.