Late Snacks at Stanton Social
Over the weekend, I wanted to go brunching for some reason. Maybe because of feeling restless from sitting on my butt in front of my laptop writing papers ENDLESSLY or studying from law textbooks just makes me want to blind myself? Possibly… So, for a few days before Saturday, I’ve contacted my almost dependable fooding friend, Ariel to ask if he wants to have brunch? After exchanging e-mails infrequently that I known practically last minute where and when we’re meeting. Thanks to my iPod Touch’s WiFi capability, I got the message before leaving the city and abandon Ariel.
Anyways, we met on Saturday at 3 at Houston and Broadway and eventually walked over to the Lower East Side. Honestly, we don’t really know where we’re eating. We’re basically roaming around a few places that he had in mind that strikes his fancy. We stopped by some Latin bistro/tapas place somewhere in the LES, but I don’t remember where it was. All I can recall was that it was a pastel pink exterior and the name started with “A.” It didn’t appeal to me at all and eventually Ariel changed his mind and he wanted to go to Stanton Social.
We started to walk on Stanton going east since I don’t wander around the LES that often and depending on Ariel that he knows where he’s going since he said he passed by this place a few times. Once we were on Clinton & Stanton, we stopped and I was thinking out loud, “Wait a minute…This doesn’t seem right. We’re heading toward WD-50.” Ariel thought a minute and said, “We should be going the right way…I think?” Since we’re doubting ourselves, Ariel whipped out his cell phone and called his younger brother and hope that he would actually give him the address. But since his bro didn’t pick up, I just remembered about my iPod! I prayed mentally that I could pick up a WiFi signal. And yes, it worked! I managed to Google: Stanton Social and I got the address. It turned out, as expected, we were heading the wrong direction. We’re supposed to head out east, not west.
We finally made it to Stanton Social. It was relatively…calm. Not as raucous and noisy as many people over at Chowhound say but then again, it’s almost 4 PM. Waay past brunch hours and it’s nearly early dinner. Only four tables were occupied, including ours, and the only disturbance were the occasional loud laugh, small groups of people having an animated discussion, and the blast of lively dance and jazz music.
The moody, dark lighting with the dark wooden paneled walls and large cylindrical lamps makes this place looks posh. Add the chocolate suede banquettes…yep, it’s trendy alright.
Since we arrived past the brunch hours and in the gray area between brunch and dinner, we have a limited menu of what they called it, “afternoon snacks.” To Ariel, it’s his late lunch since he kept telling me he’s starving ever since I met him in SoHo. As for me, this is my prelude to my actual dinner at home within two hours. (Sorry, I haven’t taken the menu photo.)
We ordered four small dishes, since they serve tapas here. Not in the traditional sense, mind you. Here’s the first batch that arrived to our table:
The potato and goat cheese pierogies with caramelized onions and truffled crème fraîche were quite appealing. The first thing I noticed while taking photos were the strong, seductive scent of truffles. The slight crunchiness of the exterior, sweetness from the onions, muskiness of the truffled crème fraîche, all collide with the creaminess of the potato and goat cheese filling. It’s an endearing start.
Then we moved on to the pumpkin and goat cheese croquettes. It might seem like we’re on a goat cheese craze but it’s not entirely on purpose. These items seem to be the more appealing of the few that’s listed on the menu. Anyways, these croquettes are the second best we’ve eaten so far (Degustation‘s is top notch). The light, crisp, crunchy exterior meets the velvety goat cheese with small bits of pumpkin. The sauce that the bottom of the croquette taste like crème fraîche and balsamic vinegar. It actually highlights the tartness of the cheese and some sweetness from the vinegar. Lovely.
Then our other plates arrived. The French onion soup dumplings and somehow, we’ve gotten another round of pierogies. We noted that mistake to the waiter, since we’re supposed to have the Red Snapper tacos. What eventually happened was that they let us keep the pierogies (for free) and several minutes later, the tacos graced our table.
Going back on the dumplings, the cheesy crust that’s on top of the entire platter was starting to harden since there was some struggle on Ariel’s part to lift a dumpling with the toothpick. But alas, he was successful (as you’ll see below)…
The dumpling was good. A slightly chewy dough contained a bit of the savory-sweet French onion soup. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever tasted, despite a number of raves I read on Chowhound. It’s an interesting concept but somehow it doesn’t make me fall to my knees when I ate them.
The red snapper tacos with fiery mango and avocado salsa, as indicated on the menu, seem like a really tasty item. Somehow, they came out to be ok, at best. The crunchy corn taco shell with the shredded bits of red snapper meat, cilantro, cubed mango, and peppers didn’t build up to what I would imagine a spectacular taco. It wasn’t really spicy, maybe a fizz of heat and I don’t really remember tasting much of avocado. Looks pretty but kind of bland, taste-wise.
Strangely, from those five plates we were stuffed. We called it quits and paid the check.
Stanton Social isn’t a bad place. Maybe we came at a bad time since it’s past it’s prime hours of brunch or dinner? The decor is attractive. This would be a great place to hang out with a bunch of friends, have a few drinks and have a good time during the evenings or the weekend. It does deserve a second chance but I’m not exactly rushing to come back either.
99 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002