Eat Street Social
I was in mid-sentence, waiting for my first meal at Eat Street Social, when the server placed a six-corner sling by my elbow. I picked it up, kept talking, and sipped it without thinking. It stopped me cold. Couldn’t even remember what I was talking about. In all my years of dining, I have never been dumbstruck by a drink.
But this cocktail went straight to the heart of what a cocktail should be: sour, yes, but silky, made with Old Overholt, an American rye. It had little notes of bitterness hiding around the edges, created by the Latin vermouth punt e mes, and the slightest medicinal—let’s say “healing”—edge from a splash of green chartreuse. A single large ice cube, exactly the shape of the glass but just a little smaller, turned unobtrusively as I sipped.
It was perfect. It was the sort of drink that makes one fall silent and then write overwrought paragraphs describing a drink.
My dining companion was worried. Until he picked up his own raspberry ricky—non-alcoholic, but still grown-up—and had a little quiet moment of his own.
The drinks. Every drink. The mix of drinks. Everything about the cocktail menu, from the egg cream to a seductive champagne drink called “The Mistress.” It all works.
The noise level. Eat Street Social has transformed the old Tacos Morelos spot into a richly decorated, vibrant room with a high pressed-tin ceiling. But there is nothing to dampen the sound. After one meal, your ears will be feeling it.
After a start like that, dinner had a lot to live up to. While I wouldn’t say that it falls short, the food at Eat Street Social plays a very competent second fiddle to the cocktail menu. There are more fine dining flourishes here than at its sister restaurant, Northeast Social, sometimes too many on a single plate. The tender scallops, a rare duck breast served with polenta, and a duck confit salad were very good. But there’s very little on the menu that would call you back. The exception may be the bacon gnocchi carbonara, lush with butter and garlic confit, and saved from an overwhelming richness by bright peppers and (in spring) tangy ramps. It’s the sort of thing you swear you could never finish, and then you do.
And after you finish it, order another cocktail, because while Eat Street Social is a great place to eat, it is now among the best places in the Twin Cities to drink.
Eat Street Social
18 W. 26th St.,