Saturday, June 11, 2016


We were introduced by a scallop.  Every fall, generally in October, there is a benefit for Meals on Wheels Chicago called the Celebrity Chefs Ball that I attend.  At this event, they have a sit down meal first featuring several notable chefs, this part of the benefit is pretty expensive and while it would be cool to attend, it would also probably make it difficult to enjoy the second part which is when I attend.  For this part of the event, about 40 restaurants are invited to set up tasting stations and offer bites based on dishes at the restaurant.  Many of the restaurants invited are well established with a very good reputation, but there are a few newcomers invited that have a significant buzz about them.  Last fall, Sociale, a brand new restaurant and wine bar that had opened in the Printer's Row/South Loop area was one of the newcomers.  They were serving a Scallop which was crusted in Sumac and cooked with Pistachio Butter which was absolutely amazing.  It was decided then that me must make a trip to try their food in person.  Located on a corner, it has a glass wall office space look from the outside.  The inside is a very open space with high, unfinished ceilings, floating liquor shelves and a kitchen, that while not open, was windowed so you could see it.  The dining room was L-shaped and we sat at a point where we could see both sides at a large black wood table.  Beer, Wine, and Cocktails were all available, but so were coffee and coffee drinks.  I started things with a Latte in which they did some very nice foam art.  I got a heart, another diner got a leaf.  The Coffee used in the Latte was also very good and flavorful.
As far as dining is concerned, I started things out with one of their small plates, a Pork Belly Pintxo, Braised Pork Belly Skewers wrapped in Iberico Bacon and served with Sherry Jus.  If you are thinking bacon on top of bacon, that is exactly what it was.  The pork belly was served as a big chunk of fatty and porky goodness.  The bacon was made from the highest grade of Spanish pork.  It was sweet and porky and had a more concentrated flavor than the pork belly.  It also provided some textural variety, being a little stiffer than the fatty belly.  The Jus provided some moisture and some sherry flavor on top of additional bacon flavor.  While this was good though, had i noticed the Scallops on the menu, I would have ordered them
For my main course, I chose Duck Sausage Hash with a Fried Duck Egg and Harissa Crema.  Like the first course was bacon on top of bacon, this was duck on top of duck.  I really like duck, but I think for other people, because of the variety, it wouldn't  be overwhelming.  The duck sausage tasted like sausage first and the egg tasted like egg first.  The Harissa Crema, a sour cream based chili paste added a spice to the dish, and the potatoes, which are an integral part of hash, gave it a nice heartiness.  It was a very good brunch with a friendly staff and I will return if for nothing else but to have another shot at the scallops.  

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