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A Pre-Preview Dinner With the Folks Opening Up the new Restaurant, Social, at 14th and Meridian

by Prince Of Petworth April 29, 2009 at 11:00 am 23 Comments

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This is by far one of the cooler experiences I’ve had while running this blog. Ever since I posted this note from the owners, I’ve been super curious about this project. A quick reminder – this is the spot at 3466 14th Street that used to be an old Christian bookstore.

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Above is an old picture and construction has moved along nicely. The owners are planning on opening up in June with a number of soft openings. But back to the dinner. I was pretty psyched to have received an email from Gabbie Lenzi, Social’s PR rep, inviting me to dinner at one of the owner’s lofts in the O Street (unit block of O Street, NW) artist quarters. The following folks attended the dinner:

AJ Guy: Partner, Operations Manager
Scott Hammons: Partner
Tim Korzep: Partner
Joseph Norton: Restaurant Manager
Larry Miller: Bar Manager/ Mixologist
Michael Clements: Executive Chef
Julie Cole (First Lady of Social)

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So basically, we all hung out in the living room of the loft (which was killer by the by) and Mike would bring out course after course all while drinking the occasional glass of wine… It was super casual and I enjoyed learning about the background of this project. It has been in the planning process for 2 years though those involved have been friends far longer that. It was interesting to learn that they considered opening up in Logan Circle, H Street, NE and other spots before choosing the Columbia Heights location. Since choosing their location they have grown to love the neighborhood though if they are successful it’s certainly possible they could open a second location.

The courses we tasted we’re prepared in a tiny kitchen which I thought was rather impressive:

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As I’ve said before I’m no food critic but to this simple lad from Petworth many of the courses were fantastic. I particularly liked the Calimari Ripieni and the Crispy Chicken. But all of the courses have not been finalized as yet. What is super cool about these folks is that they are such an interesting mix. Yet they all were super friendly. They have an interesting vision for the spot. You can read their vision previously posted here. But basically on the first floor (actually half a floor down) you’ll have the “cellar” where you can hang out and have some drinks (by the by the Mixologist/bar manager was one of the most enthusiastic folks I have ever met) and either stay there or then head upstairs for dinner. On the second floor will be what they call the “living room”. In the living room you will be taken care of by a “guide” who will be available for any questions you may have about the dining experience or really any questions at all. The owners would like to see the “guides” build the type of relationships that many good bartenders have with their patrons around town.

The dining vision includes a sharing experience. So you can get big plate and share with your dining companions. Because the place will be set up as a “living room” plus the existence of the “cellar”, the owners imagine the restaurant as a destination spot. You can eat a casual dinner here and then hang out in the “cellar” or vice versa. Plus there will be a sidewalk cafe area as well as a veranda on the second floor (both spots can seat 25). In the future it is highly likely that Social will offer brunch and late night options as well.

All I can say is that if the food, the drinks and the atmosphere are nearly as good as they were at this pre-preview dinner this place is going to be a huge success.

See some more photos of the dishes as well as a look at the cocktail menu after the jump.

Crispy Chicken:

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Cheese plate:

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Fish tacos:

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The loft:

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Social’s specialty cocktails

Shreyas
Hanger 1 Vodka, ginger basil simple syrup muddled with strawberry & fresh oj & lime juice Served on the rocks
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Rhett Butler
Makers Mark, lime juice, simple syrup & a drizzle of sour cherry juice served on the rocks
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The Rapture
10 Cane rum, Passion fruit puree, mint, topped with a dash of champagne garnished with a mint sprig. Served in a martini glass
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The French twist
Lillet, Grand Mariner, champagne & anorange twist served in a martini glass
12

El Diablo
Patron silver, Creme de cassis, ginger ale, lime wedge garnish.Served on the rocks
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The Jimmy
Cucumber & chili pepper infused Hendricks gin with mango puree muddled with. Served on the rocks
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