99 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002
If you like a scene, then you'll like, no, love The Stanton Social. It's loud. How loud? Yell at your date from across the table loud. It's dark. How dark? The few lights that they have glow dim red Set your smartphone screen to bright so you can read your menu. It's tight. How tight? Who's thigh am I touching? It's sexy. How sexy? Four blondes in LBDs and glittery shoes are staring at me. Or at least through me with lustful disinterest. It's soaked in booze. How soaked? I'm two drinks in and the appetizers haven't been ordered.
The last time I ate at a place that was as much of a scene was at Beauty & Essex. Although, they went the extra mile by hiding their entrace behind a pawn shop, so they can keep their crown. Still, Stanton isn't far behind. There are two very dark floors guarded by two very big bouncers, run by two very busy hostesses, and in spite of our having had a reservation and arriving early, Elbie and I still were escorted upstairs to the packed-to-the-hilt bar to wait for a bit. To Stanton's credit, the bartenders didn't have us wait for a year so they could flirt with some hot customer or other. We got our drinks quickly, and efficiently (if not cheaply) and they were pretty good.
We wound up being seated at a table upstairs anyway, just a few feet from where we leaned on the wall with round one of our cocktails. The Stanton Social is a small plates restaurant. They don't really do entrees and most of the dishes are pretty close in size to each other. At least this was our experience. I usually expect that restaurants as trendy as this one to bank most of their energy on atmosphere and hoping that their popularity as being the du jour place to be seen in will make up for the fact that they couldn't care less about their menu. That as long as there's a drink in your hand, you probably aren't paying attention to what you're eating. You know. Club food. So I was pleased when the it became apparent that The Stanton Social actually does have a guy in the kitchen who knows what he's doing.
As I said, The Stanton Social is a small plates place, and Elbie and I might have gone a wee bit overboard. And we might have walked out so full that we could barely breathe. And "we" might refer to "me" despite her telling me not to order so much.
The first dish to arrive was the French Onion Soup Dumplings. Served in an escargot dish, each dumpling comes filled with caramelized onion and just enough beef broth to pop in your mouth when you bite in. On top is a heaping of melted gruyere cheese and a little crouton. I love French onion soup and these dumplings managed to beat out most of the soup versions that I've had over the years. This dish was the one thing that I had been told specifically to get and my advisor wasn't wrong. It was a delicious start to the meal and as much fun as a negative review can be to write, we were never let down. These were followed by the Red Snapper Tacos, another winner. Red snapper, some mango, some avocado, in a crunchy shell (which I prefer) and served with a semi-spicy chipotle sauce on the side. It's a shame that there were only three. I think Elbie and I flipped a coin to see who got it. The Kobe Beef Burger Sliders are sold one at a time at $7 a pop. We ordered one each of these extremely juicy cheeseburgers but I could have eaten ten without breaking a sweat.
The Thai Spiced Baby Back Ribs, a few decent sized pork ribs in a hoisin barbecue sauce was the weakest of the dishes. It was still tasty, but the sauce was too thick and too sweet relative to the rest of the meal. And maybe it was just that by this point we were starting to feel gluttony pains, but the slaw that was piled on top of it was nothing to write home about. A great dish, though, was the Chicken 'N' Waffles, a little piece of chicken placed atop a little piece of waffle with a little bit of corn pudding between them. Finally, a balsamic maple syrup is drizzled across it. Amazing. Not very healthy, but amazing. For some reason I ordered a side of French Fries. They were good, but nothing more than fries. It was too much food and if I could go back in time and not gotten them, I would.
The meal ended with coffees and the 90 Proof Milkshake Shot, a tall shot of caramel ice cream and Makers Mark. Oh man, I need to make this at home.
Our meal of six cocktails, six plates, two coffees, a dessert drink, tax and tip came to $225 and no cents.
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