Social is an apropos name for this new Costa Mesa hot spot. It’s packed with regulars energetically conversing over cocktails, craft beers, and carefully selected wines, with pleasing music in the background. At first glance, it seems like any other casual dining spot, but the owners are serious about food, and, happily for me, wine.
One of the owners, Andrew Dorsey, is well-versed on the topic, and along with another owner, Dan Biello, tastes all the wines offered on the short, but eclectic list. The list is in constant transition, tailored to the evolving menu and the preferences of the clientele. Kudos for this! How many restaurants these days actually welcome their customers’ wine suggestions?
When I dined recently at Social, I asked the knowledgeable waiter to choose five small plates and match them with appropriate glasses of wine from the 20 reasonably priced ($7 to $15) selections on the international wine list. The matches were spot on: 2013 Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Provence Grenache Rose with charbroiled oysters; 2010 Joseph Drouhin Macon Villages Burgundy Chardonnay with wild mushrooms and goat cheese; 2012 Freemark Abbey Central Coast Chardonnay with Brussels sprouts; 2012 Angels and Cowboys Sonoma County Red Blend with pork meatballs and Romesco sauce; and 2012 Klinker Brick Lodi Zinfandel with Akaushi skirt steak.
The compact wine list features many affordable options ranging in price from $25 to $58, with half of the wines priced under $40. Stemware is thoughtfully chosen, and the wines are served at the proper temperature. In preparing several of the restaurant dishes, the chef uses up unfinished bottles of wine so patrons are never served a wine that’s been open for days.
Corkage is a reasonable $20, but why would you bring your own when the wine list offers such an interesting array of options?
2 wine glasses
Check out our food critic’s review of Social here.