Collapse of Socialism

Hotel Lumen restaurant struggles with some simple details

The wine list features a BearBoat Pinot Noir for $42, a fine price for this Russian River stuff, but the restaurant has none of it, so our server suggests the Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, which is nearly twice the price at $80. That or the listless Estancia at $33. The next table over (there were three filled at this point) also struggles to remedy its BearBoat conundrum and is hit with the same sales pitch.

That BearBoat not only would have mitigated the stale gratin bread, it would have been a perfect wash-down for the horseradish-crusted salmon. Topped with red and white shredded cabbage, the fish is spongy and void of distinctly rich flavors, turning into mushy meat frays on the fork instead of peeling off in neat supple flakes.

Chicken breast in pan juices suffused with port and Burgundy isn't bad though. The skin is crisp, the flesh moist and the sauce slightly bitter—just enough to intrigue without muddling up the palate or bending the senses away from the focal point.

Social Executive Chef Jon Schwarzenberger and his horseradish-encrusted salmon. Can you say Socialist meatballs?
Tom Jenkins
Social Executive Chef Jon Schwarzenberger and his horseradish-encrusted salmon. Can you say Socialist meatballs?

Location Info


Social Restaurant and Lounge

6101 Hillcrest Ave.
Dallas, TX 75205

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Park Cities


Damn good fries $5

Artichoke dip $8

Flatiron steak $21

Seafood gratin $12

Tomato soup $11

Salmon fillet $21

Pork chop $18

Chicken breast $17

Crme brle $6

Raspberries & Chambord $14

Yet in the end, Social collapses in the simplest details. "Damn good fries" are more damnable than good. Served in a paper cone stuffed into a wire frame—a plate of perfect ketchup dots in tiny ramekins nearby—the fries are minimally seasoned with flatiron steak rub, limp, cold and a bit mushy instead of vigorously crisp.

This unraveling continues through dessert. Raspberries and Chambord (raspberry liqueur from France's Loire Valley) is beautifully presented. The raspberries are placed in a clean martini glass with mint leaves slipped between the berries here and there. A small white pitcher holds the liqueur. Douse the berries rapidly, because a quick inspection will reveal dark, slightly fuzzy blemishes erupting from the berry drupelets—mold is incubating.

Social crème brûlée was nearly as menacing—a cold dish with a chilly caramelized sugar crust enclosing a thick and pasty tapioca espresso custard that proved essentially inedible. Social, like its "ism," is ultimately unworkable.

6101 Hillcrest Ave., 214-219-8282. Open 5 p.m.-10 p.m. daily. $$$

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