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The buffalo burger (from left to right), bruschetta, and braised short-rib pasta prove that Social House is more than socializing. Lee Chastain

Social House

840 Currie St, FW. 817-820-1510. 4pm-2am Mon-Fri, 11am-2am Sat-Sun. All major credit cards accepted.

To the West 7th Street corridor, an area already loaded with Dallas transplants — Gloria’s Latin Cuisine, Tillman’s Roadhouse, Velvet Taco — now comes an iteration of a gastropub that has been calling Big D home since 2009. Located in the enviable corner spot formerly occupied by Brownstone Kitchen & Bar, Social House has it all: late-night service, a full-service bar (stocked with dozens of popular local and regional craft brews), and a menu developed by Brian Olenjack (Olenjack’s Grille, Reata) that ranges from brick-oven pizzas to seafood and grits.

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The interior is a dizzying mash-up of large-screen TVs, high-top and uregular tables, a large wraparound bar, and bookshelves that tries and fails to give the swanky space a homey feel. The outdoor patio, its footprint now about twice the size of Brownstone’s, offers a close-up view of the bustling district.

The menu is vast, and it’s heavy on seafood, including chicken-fried oysters. Served on a bed of fresh sliced cabbage, poblano peppers, shredded lettuce, and diced red onions tossed in a light mayo-vinaigrette, the piled-up oysters were golden, meaty, crunchy on the outside, and soft and only saltwater-kissed inside. The dipping sauce, tangy and mayonnaise-based with a solid horseradish kick, was a scrumptious and lively topper.

The beef sliders, three silver dollar-sized burgers, were a bit underdressed and pretty boring. A leaf of lettuce, some paper-thin red onion, and a tomato slice completed the toppings. If not for a buttery, rich aioli slathered on the buns, we might have fallen asleep mid-bite.

Social House’s list of pies is full of quirkiness. There’s the prosciutto and pesto (with caramelized onions, mozzarella, and parmesan); the barbacoa (pulled pork or smoked chicken breast tossed in housemade barbecue sauce, topped with caramelized onions, mozzarella, and parmesan); and the beef chorizo. Made up of smoky hunks of beef chorizo (not pork), a fiery and chunky chipotle tomato sauce, long slivers of melted mozzarella, mild queso blanco, parmesan-like cotija, chopped scallions, and basil, the pizza was an alarmingly refreshing blend of sweet, savory, and spicy. Thanks to the thin, almost tortilla-like crust, our bellies didn’t burst.

The sandwich section is almost as much fun. Along with several classics (a reuben, blackened chicken, shrimp po-boy, roasted turkey, crab cake), Social House offers The Pub. Stuffed with maple-flavored bacon, two fried eggs, two slices of green apple, melted white cheddar, romaine lettuce, and tomato slices, this goliath, served on toasted sourdough bread, was a delectable, artery-clogging experience. The salty pork, tart apples, and savory egg worked surprisingly well together.

The star of the show was the buffalo burger: a half-pound patty blanketed with a gut-busting combination of fried egg, white cheddar, red onions, lettuce, and tomatoes and packed into a gargantuan toasted bun. The bison, cooked medium- well, had a lean, rich flavor similar to ground steak but with a slightly coarser texture. The sharp cheese added a nice zing, contrasting the milder flavors of the meat, egg, and veggies.

Social House does its best to live up to its name. For a place that apparently draws as many customers for beers and college football as it does for food, the fare is surprisingly tasty.

 

[box_info]Social House
Chicken-fried oysters    $10.95
Beef sliders    $10.95
Beef chorizo pizza    $10.95
Buffalo burger    $13.95
The Pub    $10.95[/box_info]

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