Social on State, fittingly found on 201 State St., is one of many quality restaurants that can be found in Downtown Binghamton. Their menu is designed to have dishes that can be shared and features a variety of cuisines that can best be summed up as American, including both Mexican and Italian influences. Social on State offers a $35 per person three-course dinner menu for Restaurant Week and any of the meals can be substituted for a glass of house wine, upstate IPA or strawberry basil lemonade cocktail.
I went to Social on State with my photographer, Asher, on an unassuming Wednesday evening. We immediately relaxed as we entered the restaurant and felt welcome in its calm atmosphere. Even early on a weeknight, the restaurant was bustling with customers and the bar in particular was well populated. A background of chatter filled the room, overtaking the music and enhancing the social vibe of the restaurant. With candles on every table and a kind wait staff, Social on State delivers on its promise to be a restaurant that encourages social interaction.
Moving on to the first course, Asher ordered the social wedge salad and I got the chicken taquitos. Asher was impressed with his salad, from its pretty presentation with bright pink onions to the crunch added by the occasional walnut for a nice textural contrast. He also appreciated the combination of the vinaigrette and blue cheese flavors and the lightness of his appetizer.
Likewise, the chicken taquitos were an excellent start to my meal as they had a fresh lime flavor from the crema and the chicken was cooked perfectly. The smooth corn puree added a strong textural contrast to the crispy fried tortillas. There were three taquitos in total which makes it a good choice for those inclined to share and the presentation of the three aligned in a triangle was a cool finishing touch.
For the entree, Asher ordered the spring risotto and I ordered the orecchiette pasta. The risotto impressed immediately as it was placed on the table with its vivacious green color and tasted as deliciously green as it looked. Asher noted that for risotto, it was a hearty meal but also surprisingly light, leaving room for dessert. The green beans mixed in and the parmesan cheese atop the risotto also added to the well-balanced flavor profile of the dish.
I found the pasta to be the perfect compliment to my first course as the noodles had the perfect al dente bite to them without being undercooked. The pasta featured a plethora of awesome mix-ins, from the asparagus to the broccoli rabe. The tomatoes also added a beautiful punch of acidity to the dish and a dollop of housemade ricotta added richness to each bite. The star of the show, however, was the equal parts spicy and juicy sausage that made the pasta a very filling meal.
Finally, for dessert, I ordered the nutella chocolate panna cotta and Asher ordered the banana bread pudding. Asher and I were both surprised at the sheer volume of bread pudding as the dish came in a large bowl with a generous scoop of salted caramel ice cream. The dish perfectly combined warm and cold elements with an enticing drizzle of rum caramel sauce. The tried and true flavor combination of vanilla, banana and caramel worked together to make a delicious dessert.
The nutella chocolate panna cotta may have been smaller than the bread pudding, but certainly packed just as big of a punch. Contained in a cute glass cup, the dessert featured a rich, mousse-like chocolate pudding, a healthy topping of candied hazelnuts and Frangelico whipped cream. The three pieces work together to create something larger than the sum of its part, resulting in a perfect send-off to a delectable meal.
In totality, we had an excellent experience at Social on State thanks to the wonderful atmosphere of the restaurant paired with excellent food. Make sure to check out one of Binghamton’s hottest restaurants, before or after Restaurant Week ends on March 30.