Anticipation was evident along 26th Street last Thursday evening as customers lined up outside of Eat Street Social just prior to its 5 p.m. opening time. When the door swung in, a stream of thirsty souls bellied up to the beautiful new bar and began placing their orders.
The bar is manned by some superstar drink shakers, Nick Kosevich, Ira Kaplowitz, Jesse Held, and more. We ordered a couple of drinks and a bit of food.
The maple egg cream was fizzy, creamy, and just sweet enough. Made with maple-brown sugar syrup, milk, seltzer water, and a bit of Bittercube Blackstrap bitters, it was full of pop and toasty caramel flavor, encapsulating all the promise of this super-cool soda fountain for only $5.
The boozy cocktails were also swoon-worthy. A Coat of Arms was made from Bulleit Rye, a "vermouth" made of Guinness and topped with both the Blackstrap and Orange Bittercube Bitters, served in a small cylindrical glass with a fat square of ice and a strip of orange zest for $8. It was redolent of caramel flavors, with that unmistakable dark, Guinness note and the slow, smoky burn of good bourbon.
The 21st Century Cocktail arrives in a tidy little glass with a deep rose color and a complex flavor combination of Sapphire gin and a house-made, cocoa nib liqueur. We tasted the liqueur separately--a pure chocolate flavor without any bitterness. Combined with the gin, lemon, and a bit of Lillet Rouge, it was an astoundingly layered flavor: bright, acidic fruitiness with an unmistakably chocolate smooth finish. Delicious and lovely.
We ordered a couple of small bites of food: the carpaccio, a house-made sausage, and the cheese plate. The beef carpaccio is served mixed with mayo, capers, and a bit of lemon, all topped with a perfect little quail egg. The sausage was snappy and spicy. A little dip in a nearby mustard mayo sauce cooled the zing just a little bit. The cheese was served at a perfect temperature, slightly gooey and pleasantly funky.
The room is flanked by tall booths and one Godfather-sized corner nook, with an extra space toward the back (where the Caterpillar Lounge once was). The ceiling is plated with tin-style ceiling tiles and black fans and light fixtures. The same goth-style artwork as at Northeast Social graces the walls, but the room is really all about the bar. It dominates, set with cool marble like a stage surrounded by comfortable rattan-style chairs. On this opening night the bartenders were alternately watching each other work, helping out, and shouting encouragement by way of a little friendly smack talk. It was clear the entire staff had been eager for this moment, and now are ready to get down to the business of serving guests.
It seems the flood of excitement carried them through a busy weekend brunch service and will likely continue through the week as they begin serving lunch in addition to dinner. It's too soon to tell, but with drinks like these, it seems they were worth the wait. Cheers!