We had read about Chef Jeffrey Boullt and the interesting flavor combinations coming out of his new restaurant, Social, in Costa Mesa. It’s a small plates restaurant, serving ‘tapas’ style bites… and powerful bites they were. Social was everything Pizzeria Mozza was not. It was friendly, inviting, honest, and creative.
We ordered 5 separate plates of appetizer like dishes. Which by itself was no small task, as everything on the menu looked great. They were brought out 1 – 2 at a time so as not to swamp our table or allow them to get cold.
We were brought the Shishito Peppers and Social’s Caesar Salad. Both were great. The caesar salad was stunning. It was a great caesar with shredded romaine and a flavorful caesar dressing… but what threw it over the top was a bread crumb and parmesan topping that gave an awesome salty crunch.. and seared raw ahi tuna. Delicious. You know it’s good when you are plotting how to cook it at home.
The shishito peppers were no slouch. They were perfectly cooked and seasoned with a togarachi and salt, and served with a chili aioli. They were spot on munchable.
Next up were the Wood Fired Oysters: Caraway, Pressed Egg Yolk, Pickled Mustard Seeds, House Cured Guanciale. Yum. They were fresh, briney (not fishy), and just ‘popped’ in your mouth with the pickled mustard seeds and full of soft notes and fresh flavor. Yum.
The next course, plan to see on my blog, as it was my favorite… and I just have to try it at home. When is this guy writing a cookbook? Wow… just wow. You don’t have to love octopus to try the Spanish Octopus; you’d like this. So often octopus is tough. Not this. I won’t make it with octopus, I’ll try shrimp… but the flavors were bold and delicious with a sherry vinegar intense smoky romesco sauce, chorizo, fingerling potatoes, gremolata, and chicharrones. It was crunchy, spicy, and fresh all at once. Truly a stunning dish.
Finally, we had the Wagyu Beef Tartare with a smoked mussel aioli, salt and vinegar chips, poppy seeds, sunflower, and capers. It was very good… but after that octopus, nothing could measure up. It was full of flavor and pop, and another home run.
There wasn’t a bad dish among them. They were all spectacular… and I don’t use that word lightly. Truly stunning. I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu.