The Stanton Social

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I made it to The Stanton Social for brunch! It was on my list of things to do before I move to Taipei.

1940s Champagne Julep
I made a reservation this time, because The Stanton Social is one of those trendy places that fill up quickly. We were shown directly to our table. The atmosphere is trendy, dim and arguably romantic. The tables were set up pretty close together, which made our catch-up conversation a little awkward.

Dishes at The Stanton Social are, for the most part, tapas plates, and brunch there was no exception. My dining companion and I decided to order 4 dishes between the two of us, even though our waitress said 2 people usually order 4-6 dishes. (Nothing at The Stanton Social is cheap.) As it turns out, 4 was already a little too much for us two girls, especially with our brunch cocktails.

My friend had the Pomegranate-Peach Bellini ($12) and I had the 1940s Champagne Julep ($11). Both were tasty, but I question whether there was really any alcohol in either. For food, we decided to order the warm doughnuts with caramel, red snapper tacos, grilled apple and brie quesadilla and their "famous" French onion soup dumplings.

The fish tacos ($10 for 3) came to us first. You know already that I can't say no to fish tacos if they're on the menu. These were decent, but not great. Unlike most fish tacos, these came in mini hard corn taco shells and the fish seemed closer to canned tuna than fresh fish. The restaurant menu says there was creamy avoado and spicy mango in it, but honestly I just remember the overwhelming flavor of fish and a little chipotle mayo or something. These fish tacos were on a completely different field from those at La Esquina and even Wahoo's Fish Taco. I would not order these again. (I forgot to get a photo of this dish, and the lighting in the restaurant was awful for photos.)

Grilled apple and brie quesadilla

Next up was the grilled apple and brie quesadilla ($11). I didn't think this would taste all that great because, honestly, this sounds like something you can make at home. But this turned out to be my favorite dish of the meal. I don't remember tasting either apple or brie because mixed in were mustard-maple syrup and smoked bacon bits. It was sweet and smoky, crunchy and crispy and pretty delicious.

French onion soup dumplings

And then the French onion soup dumplings came ($12). Ordinarily, I wouldn't have ordered these, but these are the Stanton Social's signature dish. I think the concept here is dumplings stuffed with caramelized onions, all smothered in cheese. I did not like these at all. They were extremely difficult to eat -- the dumplings fell apart, and the texture of the dumpling skin was mushy and soggy. The flavor was so one-noted and sweet that after two, I was more than ready to move onto the next dish. We didn't end up finishing the plate of dumplings.

Warm doughnuts with caramel

Last came the doughnuts with caramel sauce ($9). They were indeed warm little puffs, dusted in sugar. The caramel sauce was definitely the key ingredient to this dish, though even then, it wasn't anything extraordinary.

Service was good -- not as snobby as I thought it might've been, but I doubt I'll be back. The meal came to $40-some odd per person, which is ridiculous for brunch, but I expected as much. But I also expected the food to be out of this world good.

The Stanton Social
99 Stanton Street (between Orchard and Ludlow Streets)

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