Getting Social In Cowtown

Diners are increasingly seeking establishments with large selections of suds. The Social House, the West 7th development’s newest eatery, capitalizes on this trend by offering more than 50 craft brews on draft along with comfort pub fare.

The Irish pork nachos at The Social House consist of a heaping pile of thinly sliced potato chips fried until dark brown and topped with chopped tomatoes and green onions, an “avocado mousse” that resembled guacamole and shreds of pulled pork.

| photography by Alex LepeMore taps, more customers. That’s the mantra of many new restaurants as craft beer sales continue to rise. Judging from the consistent crowds present since its January opening, the model has worked thus far for The Social House. 

Located inside prime real estate at the corner of Currie and Crockett streets (formerly Brownstone), the Dallas-based concept is anchored by a lengthy, double-sided bar flanked by flat-screen TVs and cocktail tables. Dining room seating is a mix of booths and tables. Outside, loud music blares from the be-seen patio. When the restaurant is full, which is very frequently, conversation at a normal decibel is nearly impossible, something to keep in mind if visiting for a meeting or family dinner.

Chicken Fried Oysters (seen here) come eight to a plate. They are plump and evenly coated with a crispy seasoned crust.

But for drinks after work, weekend brunch or late-night bite, The Social House shines. On our three visits, servers were amiable and efficient, even during a busy Friday happy hour. If imbibing, stick to the beer menu. The watered-down cocktails we tasted were several levels below the high bar set by stellar bartenders elsewhere and just not worth passing up a great craft brew, even at happy hour prices. Plus the hefty menu items, designed with consultation from former Arlington chef Brian Olenjack, are intended to soak up beer. They run the gamut from pizzas and burgers, to tacos, salads, sandwiches and seafood dishes.

A starter of chicken fried oysters with horseradish cream sauce ($10.95) came eight to a plate. Plump and evenly coated with a crispy, seasoned crust, they were toothsome and flavorful. Cornmeal-crusted fried pickle chips ($7.95) went like popcorn, inhaled before the accompanying buttermilk dressing was finished. The same cannot be said for the Irish pork nachos ($9.95) – a heaping pile of thinly sliced potato chips fried until dark brown and topped with chopped tomatoes and green onions, an “avocado mousse” that resembled guacamole and shreds of bland, stringy pulled pork. While winning in the bulk department, the dish lacked much flavor.

But the Guinness-braised short ribs, which appear in several dishes, were a vast improvement –fork-tender, smoky and sweet. We tasted cubes of it tossed with thick pappardelle pasta, mushrooms and buttery sour cream sauce in the short rib pasta entree ($15.95), as well as topped with Hollandaise sauce in a short rib hash dish ($11.95) served with diced breakfast potatoes and an over-easy egg during a Saturday brunch visit. Other brunch standouts were the creamy, salty, white cheddar grits ($2.95), the thick, blemish-free avocado slices atop a fluffy egg-white omelet ($9.95) and the prompt refills of Baton Rouge-based Community Coffee.

Location: 840 Currie St.
For Info Call: 817.820.1510
Price Range: $$
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 4 p.m. - 2 a.m., Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
What We Like: The 50 craft beers on draft pair perfectly with the above-average pub fare. The patio is great for gatherings.
What We Don’t: The Irish pork nachos were lacking in the flavor department.
Our Recommendation: Our favorites were the chicken fried oysters and the Guiness-braised short ribs.