It’s just before service at the newly opened Social 162 in Nyack. With a pastry bag, executive chef Steve Permaul pipes creamy goat cheese into an ice-cream-like swirl next to glistening, marinated and roasted beet cubes plucked from the Nyack Farmers Market. Orange wedges, candied walnuts and micro-arugula deepen the plate’s earthy-sweet plot.
Briefing a server and bartender on the dish, Permaul, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef who’s worked with celebrity chef-mogul David Burke for more than 22 years, also suggests a pairing. “The rosé would go really well with the beet salad because it’s a little earthy-sweet.”
Owner Nidia Alexander knows the culinary gem she has in Permaul, a friend for 18 years, so she didn’t change the kitchen’s leadership when she reinvented her restaurant’s concept. She traded in the quieter Spanish-American elegance of Café Barcel to open the more accessible, social and bar-focused Social 162 on Aug. 25.
“We wanted to appeal more to the Rockland County community, make it more approachable,” Alexander said.
The vibe is darker and warmer, with reclaimed wood, specials written on black chalkboard walls and an extended bar underlined with factory-piping footrests. There’s a larger selection of tap and bottle beers, rye and bourbon.
Behind the bar, mixologist Laura Jimenez infuses gin with lemongrass, tequila with Fresno habanero and vodka with pine nuts. That vodka goes into her chocolate espresso martini because “it gives a nice nutty base to it,” Jimenez said. There’s also espresso and French press coffee from American Bulldog Coffee Roasters in Chestnut Ridge.
Jimenez experiments to create her craft cocktails. Alexander loves the Social Dragonfly, a signature cocktail of Bootlegger vodka, lavender essence, hibiscus flower and fresh lime. “I’m only allowed two,” Alexander said with a laugh.
From the kitchen, expect tacos, wings, fried chicken and spaghetti. But that taco is filled with hanger steak marinated in smoked paprika. The chicken is boneless, coated in cornflakes and served with housemade pickles and buttermilk ranch dressing. Plus, Permaul is also the pastry chef, inventing three or four desserts daily.
— By Amy Sowder. Twitter: @AmySowder
If you go …
Social 12, 162 Main St., Nyack. 845-535-3133, social162.com. Kitchen hours: 4:30-10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, till midnight Friday, 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Sunday. Closed Tuesday. Bar hours: till midnight Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, till 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and till 10 p.m. Sunday.
Great for: Date Night, Solo Dining, Live Music, Watching the Game, Excellent Desserts, Seasonal Menu, Craft Beer, Brunch, Cocktails, Dining at the Bar, Girls’ Night Out, Late Night Eats, Meeting for a Drink, Going Out on Mondays, People Watching, Romantic, Singles Scene, Small Plates, Special Occasion Dining, Vegetarians, Wine List.