Social's new menu crafted by new Executive Chef Jesse Sutton has a concept found in many European restaurants — pick your wine first and then pick your food. He's revamped the offerings to go with the innovative wine list that owner/sommelier Brad Ball has cultivated.
I got treated to a sneak preview several weeks ago, and I was so enamored with some of the food, I gave their new coq a vin pizza a critic's pick in Best of Charleston. That pizza was the fifth course in a sixth course tasting, and I was completely stuffed full of food (and great wine) and didn't think I could eat another bite. But then a pizza showed up with a crispy crust piled high with braised chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and a sultry, creamy gruyere sauce, and I couldn't stop myself. I gobbled it up. I saw Ball at last week's Best of Charleston party (they won for Best Wine Selection and Best Happy Hour) he laughed about my critics pick because apparently it's quite a bear to make every day for Sutton and crew. The sauce alone takes several hours. All I had to say in reply was: Totally worth it!
Look at this thing.
The best wine for that pizza? A 2006 Chateau Greysac, Medoc, Bordeaux. I wish I could remember something specific about that wine beside, ooh yum, or whatever other lame notes I took.
Other new dishes we tried were the seared sea scallops, served cool, with celeriac remoulade, Asian pear, and popped cappers.
The chicken roulade with pork, cabbage, pasta dumpling and herb coulis came with a 2010 Gamay from Robert Serol.
I had high hopes for this next dish. Mepkin Abbey mushrooms came with a mushroom coulis and a crispy poached egg (the little fritter on the plate). I'm a sucker for runny eggs, but the yolk wasn't as gooey as I would've liked. With a little tweaking, this dish could be utterly sublime. I plan to try it again soon.
Steak came next paired with a delightful Lebanese wine from Chateau Musar. It smells like barnyard and tastes like heaven.
For the final course, after the pizza pie, they sent out a variety of desserts to try, but I was too full to pay much attention to the sweets, although they were quite pretty.
Social has also revamped their brunch and cocktail menus, so it might be a good time to stop in if you haven't been in a while.
In regards to the food I tried, I have to say I was impressed with the level of refinement and execution but not totally surprised. Sutton has five-star fine dining experience, having worked as Nate Whiting's sous chef at both Woodlands and Tristan. The food is downright sexy, perfect for a couple sharing a couple of plates and sampling a flight of wine. We'll be sending out our incognito food reviewer to give you a critical lowdown soon.