Social Eatz | 232 E 53rd St. (Bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) | 212.207.3339 | | | |
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MANY TOP CHEF FANS WHO live in New York City have disappointed themselves with how few of the restaurants that some of that show's contestants—many of them winners—have opened right here in this proudly food-centric town. It's a one-of-a-kind shame of us city folk; the opposite of what would be experienced if any of us did actually buy the album of an American Idol contestant. (Are they still even called albums?)

Worse still is that often these restaurants do well, serving great food, making available to the general public the exceptional skill we've watched them purvey jealously for an hour a week. Harold Dieterle started the more than competent Perilla and now is enjoy greater acclaim for his wildly popular Kin Shop. Sam Talbot just opened Imperial No. 9; Leah Cohen was at Centro Vinoteca (where I first met Iron Chef American Mario Batali's sous chef Anne Burrel); and Hung Huynh was cheffing executively at Solo in the Sony building.

Angelo SosaProving prolific as well has been fan favorite Angelo Sosa, who already was working magic with Asian flavor inspirations at his presently renovating sandwich shop, Xie Xie, at which I enjoyed one of my favorite sandwiches of last year.

He is now offering the same kind of taste explosions in Midtown East, at his brand new joint called Social Eatz.

Yes, bright and exciting is the décor, as are described the choice blessedly simple yet well thought-out menu selections. I knew even before I had arrived what I would sample. First, the Smoked Ribs (choosing this version to officially initiate myself into summer BBQ season), then the Bibimbap Burger, which I had only discovered hours earlier had won not only Korean Beacon's Greatest Burger in America, but won the very same accolade from

The ribs arrived first, hot, and smelling wondrous. I took pictures to insure that I would bite into the ribs while hot, all three of them laden with ample, smokey, tender, nearly falling of the bone pork, spiked nicely by the tangy, spicy, and slightly citrusy sauce (and for 8 bucks offered far more meat than your average takeout joints order of wings that cost dollars more).

Next was the Bibimbap Burger, glorious in both presentation and size!

The complexity of the wildly different tastes deftly executed a unifying profile of taste, and as I prepared to some of the other elements of this hefty handful—maybe the veggies, maybe the sauce or seasoning—to dominate the beef's natural robustness, I became soothed that none of them ever did.

And even though I am admittedly a recent convert to enjoy having a warm runny egg yolk over any number of foods, even here, the egg was not the extracurricular afterthought I've accused it of becoming on many a cooking show; the yolks' silkiness tethered the acidity of the pickled, crispy, julienned vegetables, so every bite finished harmoniously.

It is thanks to cooking shows that I, years ago, also learned of sriracha sauce, a staple condiment in both of Angelo Sosa's venue. It is also a compliment to the burger that, even though a bottle of sriracha was well within an arm's reach, it never occurred to me to use it. And as I learned on Bobby Flay's Facebook page just weeks ago that May is National Burger Month (as if burgers aren't getting the attention they deserve...?!), this was a perfect way to kick off the month's first burger.

Fittingly, as I left Social Eatz, I noticed that directly across the street was the uptown Brick Lane Curry House, a restaurant I visited last year with a friend after seeing it featured, serving the hottest curry in the world, on yet another cooking show. Social Eatz is the hot spot serving cool food right across from the cool spot serving (very spicy) hot food.

Bun Apple Tea!


Social Eatz | 232 E 53rd St. (Bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) | 212.207.3339 | | | |