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The Social, East Ave, Rochester NY

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I've tried to like this restaurant, and it's busy, so it must be people like it, but I'm just not thrilled. Maybe I just don't like the Tapas concept, I don't know, but it seems like a lot of money for what you get. I almost feel like I'm eating fast food - I know this place specializes in fresh, local grown, but somehow it feels lost in the translation.

Last night we each had the Boston bibb salad (good, but small for $7) and shared a crabcake ($10 for one). We were still hungry so we ordered the chicken quesadillas, which I thought were OK, but not fabulous (around $10). We also had a couple of our guests' French fires ($5) which were good, but I mean, they're French fries!

Anyway, I basically felt that for $39 we each had some cheap Mexican food, a half a crab cake, French fires, and a small salad.

If you've eaten there I'd love to hear what you think.

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  1. CINDY!!! hey, I was googling for the number to Social and this is what showed up. I have to say I do like it htere. A couple things that i think are pretty special: the frisee salad with goat cheese, shitakes, and truffle oil vinaigrette. The sliders are good too (I have had the beef and the black bean). They are very filling for one or good for an app between three; unless you're with a good friend then between two is good, since you'll have to split the last one. Everytime I go with my friend she orders the beef special. It has been a beautiful piece of med-rare (or however you like it) beef on top of delicious potatoes with a red wine mushroom sauce. I wasn't too fond of the crab dip, nothing special for $11. The wine list is definetly geared towards the budget-minded- which can be good or bad. The dessert I thought was good. A huge ice cream sundae with strawberries and carmelized pineapple, homemade chocolate sauce, maybe some caramel and nuts too. One night they had apple fritters with ice cream on special. They were fabulous. If you have only bee once, give i another try, but hey, if you just don't like it, thats ok, don't try. There are other places, not many since we are in Rochester.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zoni521

      Wow, I'd feel bad if google brought someone to my comment here. My dining companions have informed me that I just don't "get" tapas. LOL. I'd much rather eat at their Veneto restaurant, it's my favorite.

      Thanks for your comments! We need more restaurants, but we're lucky with what we've got I guess. :)

    2. I too was trying to Google the number to Social and got your post. But I'm glad I did!!

      Social is one of my favorite place. The thing is tapas isn't for everyone. It's much smaller portions that you are supposed to share...which is exactly how I like to eat (but a huge complaint I have of most places is that the portions are ridiculously large).

      I've gone a bunch of times (maybe 8 or so) and have always loved it. My favorite time was with a group of about 12 women, and including drinks AND tip we spent less than $15 each.

      I think their wings are really great as is the sauce to dip them in. The fries (and yes, they are just fries) are some of the best fries I've had. The black bean quesadillas are fantastic, dunno about the meat ones. I also love the chicken dish, the lamb, the beef dish and the pork lettuce roll things. The desserts are quite yummy as well.

      The only thing I don't love is the sliders actually. But to each her own!

      I am definitely less than impressed with the wine list, but that's my issue - I'm generally disappointed with most wine lists, especially in Rochester. *cough* snob *cough*

      I don't see the price being that high at all, but perhaps for Rochester it is. We travel a lot and love to dine when we do.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dovelette

        I finally made it to Social just this past week. I haven't been to the location since it used to be Riff's (that's like two names ago, right?)

        I really enjoyed it -- since moving here from NYC I miss tapas restaurants, and have always felt a little led on by "Tapas" (which I do enjoy, but such a misnomer!). I thought the food was excellent. My friend and I ordered four dishes -- the pomme frites (Cindy, I got a good chuckle out of your post about them being just fries!) which were quite tasty with the aioli (my fave!); the endive & shaved pear salad; lamb lollipops (ooh, so tender!) and the crab cake. We were so full, we sadly had to pass on dessert though I was really jonesing for the apple fritters. My only complaint about the place was that it was too loud -- the music was turned up and the acoustics made all the chatter in there equally loud and annoying. It was very difficult for my friend and I to converse without shouting.

        1. re: nerdchick

          nerdchick - Have you been to One Ryan Alley yet? They have a nice small plate thing going on there too. (Even though I still might not understand it - LOL). Some complaints though - very loud, a trendy crowd that I'm way too old for, and snooty service. I know the chef and he's a great guy and a GREAT cook.

          1. re: CindyK

            Not yet, but yours is the fifth or so recent recommendation for the place. So perhaps i'll make that my next new place to try. I'm a bit reluctant about the noise, however! How are they on vegetarian dishes? My most frequent dining companion is a vegetarian ...

      2. The Social is one of my favorite restaurants in Rochester. Each dish is individually and thoughtfully composed, and the emphasis in each one is on the balance of three to four strong flavors. Preparations are inventive and respectful of the ingredients, and plates are visually very appealing. The place itself is very chic, with bold colors and cul-de-sac seating that's very conducive to group gatherings, which is nice, given their small plates thing. Unfortunately, the service is classic Rochester "I am doing you a big favor, bitches", but that's hard to get surprised about.

        Their fries and steamed mussels are the best I've had in Rochester. Salads are delicious (if not nutritious), but relatively overpriced, compared to the rest of the menu. Anything with beef is delicious. Also, pay attention to the specials--I once had some special pork sausage sliders there that were out of this world. Desserts are also nice--nothing fancy, but solid and satisfying.

        And eat those mussels. Steamed in a terrific, simple, white-wine and shallot broth, they are substantial and flavorful yet relatively light, and absolutely worth ordering as a meal for individual consumption. Delicious every time, and a relative bargain.