Time off from my day-job gave me the opportunity to try some places that I’ve been meaning to visit for a long time. Out of town family were visiting after Christmas and true to our annual tradition of post-Christmas dining out, this year we chose the SOCIAL. Surprisingly, I had never been to SOCIAL before but I had heard great things about it. Our dinner reservation was for four on December 27th. We arrived shortly before 6pm and were seated at a banquette-style table across from the bar. The restaurant has modern décor mixed with exposed brick walls, elegant chandeliers and plush red velvet. Tables were lined with tea light candles adding to the intimate but classy atmosphere. It was a rainy night so we didn’t expect too many people. When we arrived, a few other tables were occupied but as the night went on it got increasingly more crowded and by the time we left (around 8:30) the restaurant was full. The menu was easy to navigate and is split into three sections, small plates, full plates, after dinner (desserts and cheeses).
We love to share and there were four of us so we knew that could try a good variety of items on the menu. We were very eager to experience all of Executive Chef, Kyrn Stein’s creations but finally decided on the following dishes:
Top left: Tuna, Top right: duck egg ($15), Bottom left: scallops ($17), Bottom right: oxtail ($17)
]Chocolate & Co., English Sponge, and Strawberries and Cream ($9 each)
If I had to choose the best dishes of the night in each category they would be: SMALL PLATE: Oxtail. This plate was amazing! Sweet braised oxtail, sourdough, Burrata, Savory, and Sage. The combination made for a very tasty dish. The oxtail melted in my mouth and I probably could have had another one! By the end, the sourdough bread base is soft and has soaked up the drippings from the oxtail and leftover burrata. I would highly recommend this as a small plate/appetizer. A note about the green thai curry from the scallop dish. All of us agreed that it was probably the best green thai curry we have had. The entire dish of scallops and lobster was good but the green curry was just something else. Although a bit embarrassing to admit, it was so good that we asked for extra bread and slathered it in the curry until it was all gone. MAIN DISH: Duck Breast, Acorn Squash, Blood Pudding, Mulled Cherries, Confit Leg, and Brussels Sprouts. I typically will order the duck if it’s on a menu when I’m out. Mostly because I like duck and it’s not something that I would make at home. This dish was exceptional! I ordered it medium-rare and it arrived already cut into pieces. The duck breast was cooked perfectly, it was tender and juicy. I was a bit leery on the blood pudding and was going to remove it when it arrived but it turned out that it was very tasty when it was all mixed together with everything else on the plate. Two of my fellow diners had the lamb shank and said that it was very good. Both mentioned that it was very tender and that the bed of couscous it came on was great. My husband had the steak and although it was done perfectly and he enjoyed it, he said that it wasn’t something much different from other steak he has had. DESSERT: Strawberries and Cream (Cheesecake, Strawberry Sorbet, Matcha Streusel) and English Sponge (Sea Buckthorn Curd, Almond Sponge Cake, Earl Grey Ice Cream). I honestly could not choose a favourite between these two desserts. The Strawberries and Cream tasted like a classic cheesecake but with an innovative twist. The cheesecake part was a luxurious creamy texture. Combining everything together on the plate created a great tasting dessert. The almond sponge cake in the English sponge dessert was delicious! It had a light and airy texture to it, the earl grey ice cream was very tasty. The sea buckthorn curd was an interesting combination and put this dessert over the top. We finished this dessert quickly but it was so good it left us wanting more. Hats off to SOCIAL’s pastry chef, Justin Tse for not only beautiful plating but also for the great flavours! Our overall experience at the SOCIAL was excellent. I thought the prices were a bit high for some for the dishes but the taste and artistic plating made up for most of it. We felt that our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and was able to provide us suggestions when asked. The service the night that we went was very good. Our finished plates were cleared away very quickly but we didn’t feel rushed. We noticed small touches like the server coming and clearing each person’s individual area and refolding the napkins too. If you are looking for a special night out for a celebration or simply a date night, I highly recommend you give the SOCIAL a try.
MORE ABOUT THE RESTAURANTName: Social Restaurant + Lounge
Address: 537 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario
Website: http://www.social.ca/ Hours: Lunch - Monday-Friday 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM Dinner - Sunday-Thursday 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM; Friday & Saturday 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM; Late Night 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM Brunch - Saturday & Sunday11:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Reservations: Yes (Online)
Parking: Street parking and parking towers nearby