Seven courses. Four cocktails. Two very satiated brunch eaters at the Stanton Social, check.
Stanton Social is a restaurant by Chris Santos, the sister establishment of Beauty & Essex. Both restaurants are geared towards tapas-styled dishes made for sharing. The decor of Stanton Social is modern, sleek, and definitely exudes this sexy New Yorker attitude: dark brown wood, plush banquettes, whitewashed exposed brick walls, glass chandeliers. It was mercifully empty by the time we arrived, but I could imagine that during a busy service, it'd be almost impossible to navigate the rather cozy dining area.
We purchased an Amazon Local deal for seven dishes and two cocktails each, such an amazing deal that I bought another one for brunch with my friend. Our server announced that she had never seen anyone complete the whole brunch. Challenge accepted! How hard could a few tapas plates be?
First, we started off with dessert: caramelized banana pancakes and warm doughnuts with fudge sauce. Mmm, what delectable little bites! The pancakes made a miniature stack and were awfully cute, not to mention tasty. I'm not a huge pancake person, but these were fluffy, sweet without being cloying, and offset by the banana flavor and nutty topping. I also loved the doughnuts, which were more like doughnut holes, covered in powdered sugar and cinnamon, dunked into fudge sauce. What's not to like!
Next, we had some appetizer-y dishes of Eastern European flair: latkes and goat cheese pierogies. I found these to be nearly flawless and I could eat entire trays full of both the latkes and pierogies. I love a good crispy latke, and Stanton Social's were crisp on the outside and had enough thickness to offer an actual pillowy potato-y within. The pierogies were one of my favorite things that we ate, actually more for the truffle creme fraiche that accompanied them. I hoarded the scoop jar of truffle creme fraiche and dipped everything in it afterwards. It definitely earned a place in my Condiment Hall of Fame.
I'm not sure what happened after this, but our entree-like dishes were less exciting. The first was shredded chicken chilaquiles. Perhaps we waited too long, but the strips of tortilla on which the chilaquiles was built were pretty soggy. Major props, though, for the overall flavor of the dish: I love a good corn tortilla, and the toppings of shredded chicken, queso fresco, pickled red onions, and a fried egg all tasted great, but I have to admit the sogginess of the starch was off-putting. If the tortillas were crunchy, this would have been a spot-on nacho-style dish instead of chilaquiles.
Finally, as our server had warned, we were starting to feel food coma with two dishes to go! The last two were chorizo mac & cheese and fried chicken and waffles. The mac & cheese was quite good, with al dente radiatori/rotini pasta and tiny little cubes of chorizo under a crunchy bread crumb topping. I'm a little sad to say that we ended the meal on one of my least favorite dishes, the fried chicken and waffles. I was a) too full at this point and b) disappointed in the very dry chicken finger-like chunks on top of little waffle wedges, which were drenched in this chemically syrup that reminded me of McDonald's McGriddles - that same chemically syrup taste that I despise.
Throughout the meal, our server brought us our total of four cocktails: The Social Tea, Strawberry Fields, 1940s Champagne Julep, and Pomegranate Peach Bellini. I (embarrassingly) asked for mine to be a little less alcoholic so I wouldn't be stumbling out of there totally wasted, and it was a good idea because I got to try lots of different cocktail flavors even with my low tolerance. All the drinks were good, but I especially enjoyed the Social Tea for its light, refreshing "iced tea" style, and Strawberry Fields for the actual chunks of strawberry muddled in the drink. Kudos to theirbartenders!
Okay, so they can't all be home runs, but we did have our fair share of amazing and creative and delicious dishes at Stanton Social. I have another brunch date with a friend soon and I so look forward to trying some new things, and returning to sample some of my now-favorites.