Friday, Feb. 1, 2013
It’s appropriate that Social Southern Table and Bar’s owners chose the bee as the centerpiece for the restaurant’s logo, because there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the joint.
The bee is the “most social insect in the world,” according to Jody Ferguson, who teamed up with Social Executive Chef Marc Krampe and Charley G’s owner Charlie Goodson to open an extremely elevated gastropub they have deemed a “speakeatery” in the 4,600-square-foot former Canton City Inn on Johnston Street.
“Food is meant to be shared in a social atmosphere with good company,” says Krampe, who created the menu to include small plates meant for sharing or snacking and entrées for full dinners. For now, the restaurant is only open for dinner, but Ferguson hinted at a “social hour” and the possibility of expanding to include a lunch menu. Sit at the bar or at one of the tables made from old warehouse oak flooring and enjoy one of the specialty cocktails, 16 beers on tap or a bottled beer from the extensive selection.
Krampe’s menu is eclectic, to say the least. The dishes rotate around Southern favorites with international influences; Krampe is a classically trained French chef but has worked in kitchens specializing in Ethiopian, Japanese, Thai, New American and French cuisines.
“I love all different kinds of foods, and I wanted to try to put that all together somehow and make it work,” says Krampe. “I like to take dishes, like shrimp and grits, and put my own twist on it — smoking the shrimp, sautéing it in Indian Madras curry oil. Instead of grits, we use stone-ground polenta that we cook for four hours. I like to take different aspects of different cuisines and make a cohesive dish out of them.”
Krampe’s favorite dish is the Social burger on a pretzel bun, accompanied by the frites — “crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside.” If you’re a sucker for duck wings, look no farther than Social for a finger-licking treat covered in a fish-caramel sauce — salty and sweet. The pork belly sliders are topped with a pickled mushroom and onion relish to cut the often overly rich, fatty meat.
If you absolutely cannot decide, the boudin kolache is a sure thing. Krampe stuffs a sweet roll with boudin and white cheddar and then serves it with a caramelized apple-and-onion coulis. Your friends are going to want to try it, too, so it’s probably best to order a few. While you’re sharing, the social flatbreads are easy to split, and there’s one to satisfy any craving. Want something light? Try the farmers’ market vegetable flatbread. Exotic? The house-smoked mozzarella, tomato jam and Thai basil will be smoky, sweet and hot. Something heavier? The loaded flatbread with leeks, manchego, country ham, fried quail egg and garlic confit should do the trick.
The supper plates are heartier helpings and are the most noticeable nod to Southern cooking, from smoked shrimp and polenta complete with roasted pork broth and pickled green tomato relish to the Guinness-braised cochon with wild mushrooms and citrus oil. However, the most enticing — if you’re feeling adventurous — is the smoked fried chicken-n-foie gras biscuits, not at all like mama made ’em. A lot of love goes into the chicken alone, and it’s apparent. Top it with a honey syrup made with local ghost peppers, and there’s nothing else you could desire.
Except maybe a cocktail. Krampe had his hand in creating that menu, too, and it features some unlikely elements. The blackberry bourbon lemonade is a good place to start with Buffalo Trace bourbon, housemade lemonade, blackberry purée, sparkling wine and, surprisingly, cardamom. The Social Animal is the bar’s specialty Bloody Mary, with housemade Mary mix, cracklin-infused vodka, pickled okra, cracklin and cheddar cheese. Now, it isn’t as spicy as this imbiber would desire, but the meaty cracklin taste is a nice change of pace. For a lighter taste, the Ruston Peach is a blend of Woodford Reserve bourbon, smoked Ruston peach preserves, Aperol and iced tea. The Creek Water was inspired by a drink Krampe and his friends made in a cooler, but now it’s a bit more sophisticated with Beefeater gin, lime juice, soda, simple syrup, cucumber and mint leaves — but still just as refreshing.
We’re not finished yet. The dessert menu, designed by pastry chef Amy Salsman, is incredible. Bring some friends to share the salted brownies with hazelnut brittle, or the carrot cake made with cornflakes and topped with buttermilk glaze, or the lemon and white chocolate pots de creme with sweet biscuits (which resemble scones), or the cereal milk and fresh baked cookies (or upgrade to a Southern Russian, which is the cereal milk with Kahlua). Krampe, a friend of The Lab’s Thomas Peters, says there is a chance of expanding into a specialty coffee menu as well.
If you plan on spending many an evening at Social, the PO Box membership program is probably a good investment. For $20 a month, you can have the VIP treatment with your own bronze mailbox stocked with a gift handpicked by Krampe, like wine or beer, personal tasting notes, food pairing suggestions, recipes, and “imported foodstuffs or Social kitchen creations.” With it also comes special invitations to exclusive events and tastings.
Find Social at 3901 Johnston St. and call 456-3274 for reservations.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.