The Stanton Social. You know it, and if you don’t live in New York you’ve at least heard about it or think it’s a restaurant you have to go to. Well, your wrong, but not completely. Stanton Social has a small place in my heart as it was the first trendy, hoppin’ sceney restaurant I went to the summer I interned in NYC which was about 6 years ago. We got mini sliders, fried chicken and waffles and even milkshake shooters for dessert. What could be better right? Well, anything below a $70 bill here. In reality, you get to try all kinds of dishes, but the problem is you can barely come out alive under $100, and you didn’t even get your own meal. While my dining philosophy is to share, these bites can be too small for their price and aren’t all the freshest of ingredients. If you are a guy, don’t even attempt walking in here because you’ll be really unsatisfied, but on the bright side, you will have an easy chance picking up the single ladies. Most men in here are visiting from another country or at a business dinner.
French Onion Soup Dumplings
Aside from the portion and price negativity, Stanton Social happens to still be really fun. There’s nothing better than a round table when you have a group dinner of over 5 people. You can see everyone, share everything easier and you end up drinking more. The music selection here is quite fantastic pulling out oldies like TLC’s “No Scrubs” to oldies to Rihanna. You might as well be at a dance party at your living room table, but oh wait we don’t always have living room tables in these small New York apartments.
Now on to the food. To have the best experience, you must be smart about your ordering. Make sure you ask if they plan to double up on some orders because some come with 3, 4 or only 5 pieces/portions and they will add a whole other order if you don’t tell them not to to suite the amount of people at the table. In most cases, someone won’t be interested in one of the bites, so you don’t have to worry about counting them in for that dish. While I do remember the sliders being good from my first experience, they are $5 a pop and believe it or not that adds up. The French Onion Soup Dumplings are a must order because where else will you see these? Nowhere. You pluck your little dumpling out of the dish with the toothpick, wait a while for it to cool off as you don’t want hot soup exploding all over you or cheese hanging from your face. It’s a fun little teaser to start with that’s for sure. It gets everyone in the mood for the courses that are on their way. The Shisito Peppers are great for sharing as everyone can get several pieces. They are salty and crunchy, and I was sure glad to have this veggie compliment our order. Skip the quesadillas and red snapper tacos (was that really red snapper in there?) and get some Mexican food down the street at Mission Cantina if that’s your mood.
It was the entrees that actually blew me away. Yes, after we got the Baby Back Ribs and Sriracha Pea Crusted Salmon, I felt like I had come back to life and I was back in the game. My spirits flew up and chowing down on this was exciting again. The ribs are so tender- more tender than some BBQ places I’ve tried. They are stacked high up and covered in a sweet barbecue/ketchup/steak sauce that will get all over your hands and maybe face if you’re not a skilled eater, but hey, it’s worth it. My favorite dish from day one is the salmon. It’s cooked rare with a crunchy pea crust coating that is not a heavy bread like coating but just a flavorful kick that you can’t get enough of. There are four big skewers of this salmon and enough for lots of sharing and tasting. Heck, I’d go back and just order this to myself next time.
Baby Back Ribs
The desserts are another story and yes, still shareable style. They have donuts with dipping sauces, a trio of ice cream sundaes and molten cake. My favorite of the bunch is definitely the S’mores Creme Brûlée. It’s served in little sake like tea cups with a little marshmallow layer on top that hovers over an amazing chocolate pudding sauce. Dip into the bottom of this and call it a night.
Chances are even if you have a reservation you’ll have to wait, but luckily they have a bar upstairs that holds everyone and where you can start off with drinks. The main dining room downstairs has tall ceilings, booths, round tables and a big display of wine bottles at the back providing extra lighting and a creative view. The music can be too loud, but in reality, you come to Stanton Social for birthdays, to bring friends in town who are dying to try it and to have a night out- not a culinary enlightenment. Like Macklemore says “so we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us.”
S’mores Creme Brûlée