Back down to the Lower East Side for dinner hoping to find another gem. The Stanton Social scores on all fronts. The whole family went and we all loved it.
You know you have found the spot because even the front of the restaurant shouts out to you. Steel window frames, glass front, very modern. Walking in puts you in to a very different world than the street outside. Warm, wood, steel, elegant lamps on the side walls, a small balcony upstairs against the wine cellar for a more intimate meal. Even the round tables for 5 are just the right size to be able to talk across.
Each dish is designed to be shared among the table. The plates come out continuously through out the meal. The service is attentive which is very important because you are in constant need of new plates. The tastes are all so different that a spicy chipolte sauce would ruin the effects of a goat cheese ravioli. Also, the waitress noted that there were 5 of us so on some dishes she told us how many pieces we were having and then asked if we wanted more so we all got one. I liked that.
We started off with Red Snapper Tacos and Chipotle Grilled Shrimp. We were all wowed from the onset.
The shrimp was charred and served alongside a mixture of tomatillo, corn and feta. Great combination. There was also a spicy chipotle sauce that criss-crossed the dish for presentation which was perfect. The salad salad was crunchy and worked perfect with the shrimp. The Red Snapper Tacos were tiny hand held tacos stuffed with snapper and a spicy mango avocado salsa which made the combination soft and explosive.
Waiting was fun. We discussed each dish and looked forward to the next. Our next was Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi cut in small pieces layered over avocado with slices of red jalapeno on top. It was to be dipped in the yuzu ginger dipping sauce that had two pieces of grapefruit floating in it. There was also a tiny small grouping of greens on the side that we scooped up too. I am not sure that I would order this again because it was sort of a lone taste in the midst of more powerful plates. Sushi is more elegant and sublime than powerful.
Next up was the French Onion Soup Dumplings. Beyond clever. This dish was baked in an poached egg type pan. So there was 6 toothpicks with croutons on top of each of them stuck into a cheesey concoction. When you pulled the dumpling out it was set inside a small hole. Melted cheese surrounding a bready round piece that is stuffed with caramelized onions. Really good.
Our next dish was a flat wood grilled pizza covered in manchego cheese, oven dried tomatoes and a roasted garlic and chili oil. The combination was excellent. The bread was crisp. The flavors worked and you could taste each one. They served that alongside the "old school" meatballs that were a mixture of meats, roasted and served over a herbed ricotta manicotti and lots of red sauce over it. I really liked the meatballs and sauce. The manicotti wasn't as interesting but I liked how each meatball was laying over the small piece of manicotti. One thing missing here was bread. We would have all liked to have mopped up the red sauce before they took away the plate.
Our last combo hit the jackpot. Braised short ribs that had been pulled apart and put into a small bowl with a dab of sour cream on top. Served along side 3 small bowls. One of refried white beans, the other shredded manchego cheese and last a tomato salsa. Hot soft tacos were folded over on the meat plate. You made your own taco with the combination of all four. Excellent. I will absolutely attempt to create that dish at home. The meat had been cooked for hours and was rich and flavorful. Alongside was their interpretation of Moo Shu Shrimp. A small bowl of shrimp and torn herbs next to a tiny bowl of a citrus hoisin sauce and folded soft crepes. Again, make your own. Delicious, light and flavorful.
The one thing that we didn't order but will next time are the Sliders. Sliders seem to be the new food. I've seen them at a few restaurants. Small Kobe Beef Burgers or BBQ Pulled Pork Sanwiches or Lobster Rolls. They are tiny but not that tiny and we were afraid that they would be so filling that we wouldn't get to taste enough things. The key is probably splitting them or dividing them into four.
We bagged dessert because we had to be at a show around the corner at Pianos which is a very cool bar and venue.
I can hardly wait to go back to the Stanton Social and by the way, neither can the kids.