With news last week that Dish Restaurant at the ilume would be relocating — and that Feb. 28 would be the last “Drag Brunch” in that space, at least until owner Tim McEneny opens Dish’s replacement concept, Cedar Grove (planned for Memorial Day) — came the sudden realization that some queer folks would be without their traditional brunch hang. And since I believe the proper collective noun for gay men should be “a brunching,” it falls upon me to come up with some alternatives. Here, then, the inaugural column looking for new spots to mimosify and gossip on a warm spring Sunday. First up: The Social House.
My initial foray to scavenge for a suitable booze-and-protein-binge before 5 p.m. took me to this prodigal gastropub in Uptown. Prodigal only because it initially opened its doors in the West Village, only to relocate to Addison a few years later.
Then about three years ago, it returned to Central Dallas, this time tucked away in a quaint, parking-challenged corner between the Quadrangle and Gold’s Gym. But really, that just creates a little more buzz, a bit greater intimacy. Social House has “social” in its name, after all; you’re meant to feel the bustle and hear the hum.
And hum it does. On our visit — a gorgeous Sunday around 1:30 p.m. — the patio was packed with energetic (and good looking) diners, a diverse and friendly crowd that was also reflected in the servers, all of whom were gracious and easy-going. We didn’t make a reservation, so had to wait half an hour for our table, but no worries — bellinis and mimosas are available by the carafe (10 bucks!), and you can buy those at the bar and set up shop inside the foyer, where a shelf makes for the perfect setting to hold a flute or two of bubbly and o.j. (The two of us got two carafes before the meal was over; don’t judge.) The full menu — with its selection of burgers and tacos, pizza and pub grub — was available, and while my dining companion was focussed on the adult beverages, I came for brunch food.
The selection was what you’d expect at a gastropub in Texas: eggy offerings, gourmet meats and a dose of Tex-Mex sensibilities. I was drawn to the steak benedict ($13.95) or the breakfast tacos ($9.95) or even the chicken and waffles (at $15.95, the priciest item on the very reasonable menu), but stuck with my favorite Latino standby: chilaquiles ($9.95).
Triangles of crisply-fried corn tortillas serve as the foundation upon which are dome of ingredients create a kind of working-class casserole: marinated pulled pork weaves between a salad of lettuce, avocado, salsa, onions and an smattering of diced tomato, capped by a fried egg with lovely runny center, queso fresco and its French cousin, creme fraiche. It’s a full meal on a plate, with the added benefit of texture, deftness and a cocktail close at hang. My dining companion’s decision to order from the house specialities was forgiveable. That’s the beauty of brunch: Something for everyone, and everyone feels at home.
2708 Routh St. Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.
Have a suggestion for a brunch place in or around Uptown that we should check out? Email your recommendation to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @criticalmasstx.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2016.