>> Monday, January 31, 2011
It was my birthday recently and there is no better time to fill my belly with yummy yummy food that the day which marked my arrival in to this…erm, perfect world? Ok, mind my skepticism; I personally don’t think this world is that perfect, which I’m sure a lot of you would agree. There are many many things that could change to make this world a better place, but this isn’t the time nor the place to be talking about this (I was talking about my birthday afterall) so I’ll try not to get too off topic here. Either way, even though the world itself might not have been perfect, the many lovely dinners I had to celebrate were definitely perfect in my mind and I wanted to share them with you as well, starting with the new kid on the block, Sociale Bar and Grille.
Atmosphere: A trendy and stylish vibe. Enough said.
Price: Mid $10s - $20s
Food and Wine: Located between Parkerhouse and Velvet is the new kid on the block, literally. Opened just a couple of weeks ago, Sociale offers a chill upstairs lounge and restaurant / bar on the bottom level, both of them serving food, with slight twists on the menu. We decided to sample a bit of the tapas menu but couldn’t go without trying their entrees as well so began our dining journey for the evening.
Starting with the Cioppino Sociale served with saffron aioli on grilled baguettes. The tomato broth was light and perfectly seasoned and we both really enjoyed the saffron aioli (it also went well with the complimentary bread that was given as well!). Next came the Beet and Apple Salad, which can be simply described as refreshing. The apples added the perfect amount of tanginess to the sweet beets with the peppery accompaniment of the arugula and truffled honey anise dressing.
Since we both love our carbs, we also enjoyed the platter of “Spread”, which consisted of bean dip, tapenade and a roasted garlic aioli in lieu of the marinated goat cheese (those of you who know me, know why that was substituted) served with warm flatbread. There was more than enough dip served to get a good taste for each and I’d have to say my favourite was definitely the tapenade. It went well with the flatbread, our complimentary baguettes and even the fish!
I couldn’t pass on the Citrus Ponzu Sablefish, garnished by a honeyed pork belly and sautéed swiss chard. The sablefish was melt in your mouth delicious; it should never be cooked any other way because that would be a waste of such a wonderful fish. The pork belly was nicely seared and to my surprise wasn’t overly fatty! The buttery swiss chard added a nice touch as well.
We couldn’t finish the evening without a decadent dessert and the Rosemary Apple Pie was just that, the infusion of rosemary in the crust and filling itself took a normal apple tart to a whole new level. Accompanied by vanilla ice cream and drizzled with frangelico brown butter syrup, it was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
The only hiccup to our evening was when we tried to order the wine for dinner, which could be attributed to the fact that Sociale is still fairly new and might not have all the wine on hand. We did end up with a nice glass of Montes, which is a blend of Cabernet-Carmenere, which was light bodied, fruitier red. It didn’t overwhelm all the seafood we were eating that night which was a bonus. The servers apologized profusely for the fact that they didn’t have the different wines on hand and were more than accommodating when we asked about different things on the menu. They even offered the upstairs menu if we were interested in trying other appetizers as well.
My Picks: Beet and Apple Salad, Citrus Ponzu Sablefish
Overall: Opening between Parkerhouse and Velvet is no small feat and Sociale is anything but small, with two full floors and an amazing menu, it’ll definitely add a new dimension to the old Lougheed Building.
Sociale Bar and Grille
606 1st Street SW