Cheap Eats, Asian Fusion, Notable Chef, Burgers
232 East 53rd St – Midtown East
Social Eatz is a moderately priced Asian Fusion/Comfort Food eatery owned by Top Chef contestant Angelo Sosa. They recently won Eater’s Top Burger in America with the Bi Bim Bop Burger.
The decor was pleasant. The space was well laid out for a small space. Tables had long padded benches and it had a nice-sized bar.
But Sosa’s spot was so-so. While it qualifies as ‘cheap eatz,’ we expected more from Angelo. His former spot Xie Xie was absolutely amazing. What happened? I think he’s spending his time at his new Upper West Side Tequileria and he’s left somebody in charge who does not have his exacting quality standards.
We started with drinks. Steve got a warm Radeberger and I had a rather lame cucumber mojito. So that was a tad disappointing. And there were little ‘noseeums’, as Steve calls them, flying around. Fruit flies. Ick.
I took the recommendation of our waitress and had the tomato curry soup. It had good flavors, but it wasn’t hot. That was a shame because it was POURING and cold out. I was looking forward to warming up.
A fresh take on the traditional. Rich tomato, a twist of curry, a splash of vinegar, white onion, and green chili blended to a silky finish $5
Steve got the hot wings at the recommendation of the guy at the next table. He said he was addicted and he had two orders in front of him. We were pretty psyched for some Asian flavors. What we got were some really sticky, sappy wings. Ok, but with all of the competition out there these days, nothing to write home about.
Crispy wings glazed in a sauce of tamarind, garlic, shallots, palm sugar and togarashi, a Japanese spice blend of red chili, roasted orange peel and black sesame $9
For our last course, we both chose tacos. We each preferred our own, which doesn’t surprise me. Steve is a big fish taco fan (best in show Papatzul
for cheap eats) and I am an anything Korean fan. I felt his was too fishy and mine was bizarre. When something is described as marinated skirt steak, I do not expect ground beef doused in powder as if from a packet. To top it off, it had a black color, which was not appetizing. I broke apart some of the meat and the center was grayish ground beef. It was as if they tossed it in a pre-prepared chili powder-like mix but didn’t cook through afterward. I LOVE kimchee. I figured under any circumstance that should cover ANY bad flavor. But it was runny and mayonnaisey. While it added liquid and some flavor to my powder concoction, I wouldn’t ever guess it to be remotely related to kimchee, fusion or otherwise.
KOREAN BEEF TACO
Vintage® skirt steak marinated in a sweet/savory sauce of cane sugar and gochujang. Served in warmed corn tortillas with spicy bean sprout kimchee $9
CHILI KISSED TILAPIA
Light, white fish brushed with thai chili, sauteed and garnished with fresh green tomato salsa and avocado. This is a real Confucian fusion $8
We happened to head to Social Eatz because we were going uptown to the Guggenheim. We generally don’t travel to E. 53rd St. If I lived in the neighborhood, I would not even go back. Actually, a friend lives nearby. He texted us not to order the chicken sandwich. He got one that was completely raw, the cardinal sin of food preparation mistakes. Yikes.
Sorry Angelo, you are supposed to be one of the hottest chefs in America. We had higher expectations. Of course that will not stop us from checking out Anejo Tequileria
. I hope to hell you are in the kitchen. In the meantime, get over to Social Eatz and kick some ass. Send some friends in while you aren’t there to eat.