Whenever the word “fusion” is used in cuisine its a bit of a turn off to me. Face facts people, all food is fusion by definition of the word. So when a place opens up and say they do a fusion of this and that I really am not in the mood to swing by. Well SOCO changed my mind on that recently…maybe I need to rethink my stance on fusion.
SOCO is a new Southern fusion restaurant/bar that has opened up on Myrtle Avenue on the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill border in the past few months. I had a few friends that had gone and their reviews were up and down. So this past Saturday Erin & I figured “let’s take a walk and check it out”. To be honest, one of our favorite places was closed and we wandered down a bit farther on Myrtle. SOCO was open so we decided to drop in.
We got there between shifts and the super friendly staff said we could wait at the bar, have a drink and we should be seated in a half hour. Who am I to refuse a drink on Saturday afternoon. From first impressions the interior is really nice and modern. You can see alot of ironwork that seems be be influenced by the Brooklyn Bridge, so right off the bat I am sold. We sit down, are given a cocktail menu and told about the specials. Again, good staff make a good place even better. The cocktail menu seemed very interesting and had a nice list of signature cocktails that start to give you a hint how they like to mix and match influences on their dishes. Everything seemed to have classic Southern roots with Asian or European hints intertwined into each cocktail. Instead of a signature cocktail we went with a Moscow Mule & a Dark N’ Stormy, our two go to drinks. They made the drinks very nicely with some muddled ginger that took it up a tiny notch but wasn’t pretentious.
As we finished our drinks we were seated at our table in the back. One thing I liked was that there were multiple types of seating here. Big tables, small tables, stools…etc. This is always a selling point for me to come back for different occasions. Looking over the menu again we saw the different types of fusion they were doing with Southern cuisine and it seemed pretty subtle and clean. We ordered our dishes and couldn’t wait to see what was in store.
Crawfish Dumplings with Green Curry Sauce
For appetizers I went with the Crawfish Dumpling and Erin went with the Mac N’ Cheese. Erin tells me that you can tell how good a place is based on their Mac N’ Cheese, she has a great point here. The Crawfish Dumplings with Green Curry sauce were amazing and light. The dumpling wrapper was made from a piece of blanched spinach, rather than dough, and made them such a light appetizer. The sauce was perfectly seasoned and had just the right amount of ginger to cut through the coconut milk. This is a very inventive appetizer I will order again.
Mac N' Cheese in a skillet... always a winner
Erin tried to test out her Mac N’ Cheese theory as an appetizer. This was a pretty good Mac N’ Cheese, probably like a 9 out of 10. I wouldn’t go crazy about it but they used the right noodles, a good cheese mix and it was crispy on the edges. I would go back to this but wouldn’t write home about it. She said her theory was write and that this place was a good place to eat at, I was still a little cautious. So onto our main dishes.
Buttermilk Friend Chicken & Red Velvet Waffle
When I saw this on the menu I couldn’t refuse the Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Red Velvet Waffle. I mean c’mon that is just asking to be ordered… for the waffle alone. Just like all the other plates it looked very nice, and that is something that stood out about every dish we saw coming from the kitchen, so I just dug into it. I think because we came right as dinner service started the fryer wasn’t on for long enough because the tasty batter did not stick to the chicken. And its a shame because the chicken itself was really juicy and the batter was tasty. but because it wasn’t adhering I had to pick it up off my plate. But man, I did love the taste of that batter. Now onto the waffle… this was really, really good. Its a nice hybrid of a red velvet cake and a warm waffle… something I just love with fried chicken. I want to go back and try this a little later in dinner service to see if its better…I have a feeling it will be.
Lobster, Shrimp & Creamy Grits
Erin went with something we found really interesting on the menu, the Lobster, Shrimp & Creamy Grits. This was a winner in both our books. First off its a full lobster tail cooked perfectly. Second the shrimp and sauce is nice and spicy but not over powering. And lastly the grits are some of the creamiest we have ever had. I mean these were so buttery and a perfect compliment to the bright seafood. I tend to think of myself as a Shrimp & Grits expert, I make it a few times a year, and this was right up there with my favorites I have had in the South. This was such a great, well rounded dish and a perfect example about the fusion they are doing here which gets two thumbs up from us.
Overall I am very excited about this place opening up in our neighborhood. The atmosphere and decor are perfect for the neighborhood, & a great reflection of Brooklyn. The staff is very warm, friendly and knowledgeable. And lastly, and most importantly, the food was really good & interesting. It did have a few subtle flaws but I think that had more to do when we came in the service. We will be hitting this place for brunch as well is later in the dinner service very soon.