Society Cafe has officially opened in the absolutely gorgeous Walker Hotel Greenwich Village. Located on the lower half of the hotel, the new restaurant is helmed by chef Chris Zabita, who expertly brings farm to table dishes and crafts them to perfection for each customer. I had the pleasure of dining there this past Saturday night, and was pleasantly thrilled with everything they had to offer.
Society Cafe reads as a hidden gem inside Walker Hotel, which has an elevated excitement about it even before you go inside. The exterior of Walker Hotel is already lit up for the holidays, and is beautiful upon first sight. When you go inside, you head down two flights of stairs to experience all that this location provides.
The picture above really does explain it all. I’m not the biggest fan of blue and brown together, especially in a restaurant environment, however it works here a lot as the overall elements mesh very well together. That particular night the lighting was a bit dim which met with the cold, winter feelings that were happening outside. We also had a fabulous waitress in Zoe the entire night, which made the entire experience that much better.
Chris Zabita’s menu calls for it to be broken down into three different parts, focusing on sourcing local seasonal cuisine including farmers, markets and more to give his customers the freshest ingredients around. That stood out in several of the dishes that we tried and then some.
Innovation is the name of the game, as the standout dish in the “first” column has to be their Hudson Valley “Pb&J”, Foie Gras, with Concord Grape and Grains of Paradise Brioche. I never in a million years thought that the words “Foie Gras” and “Pb&J” would come together, however Chris does it in such a way that is clever, tasteful, and surprisingly balanced given the powerful flavor of the Foie. Brilliance at its best.
The “second” part of the menu is very pasta heavy, as it features three different pasta options and its fabulous supporting cast of flavors in each. My personal favorite of these was their Butternut Ravioli with Stokes Farm Delicata, Pepitas, Sage & Brown Butter. Anytime you give me Butternut Ravioli and Brown Butter, I’m sold. Seriously. Chris’ execution of this dish is superb, as each flavor melds so well with each other. The ravioli itself is bursting with butternut flavor, and it actually became my favorite meal of the night.
For their “third” section it became all about chicken as their Green Circle Chicken with Celeriac, Granny Smith Apple and Pierre Poivre was simply divine. That big crispy part was just fun to eat through, and I am a sucker for a Granny Smith Apple which provided a super sweet component to this already fantastic dish. Definitely one that I recommend you ordering.
Clearly, teaming up with Matt Levine & his amazing hospitality group, indieFORK, really is a smart idea given the genius of what Matt can do for restaurants all around Manhattan (especially Chalk Point Kitchen). If this is how Society Cafe is starting, then I can’t see what is next for this bright and unique spot in the heart of Greenwich Village. For more information, check out their official site.