Social Eatz’s Kung Pao Chicken Sandwich is a Home Run

Social Eatz

I’ll admit I was skeptical when I first walked into Social Eatz. I’m not sure if that hesitation stemmed from the idiosyncratic theme of regularly replacing “S”s with “Z”s, the bubbly cartoon logo, or the fact that the owners of Circle – a nightclub near and dear to this contributor’s heart, but certainly not known for their food – are the majority investors of the restaurant. On the other hand, backing from the Chace restaurant group (OBao, Spot Dessert Bar, Ember Room) and Top Chef All Star, Angelo Sosa, in the kitchen certainly gives Social Eatz a note of credibility, not to mention star power.

Like Sosa’s previous project, Xie Xie, the menu is heavily driven by Asian inspired sandwiches and is rounded out with soups, salads, and appetizers. And while approximately half of the menu is under the ML accepted price threshold, Social Eatz presents a unique opportunity to eat a Midtown lunch at a “Celebrity Chef” restaurant – and indeed it is possible to eat very well for under $10.

Social Eatz Korean Tacos

For the sake of my obsession with Korean tacos, Social Eatz’s version ($9) were a must-try for me. An order comes as two tacos, stuffed with skirt steak – nicely charred for a good smoky profile, meaty, tender, and a mite bit sweet – on a single layered wheat tortilla (Lo siento Mamacita). The flavor also finds its legs from a napa cabbage slaw, fresh cilantro, lightly pickled carrots, and what I think was a mayonnaise based sauce with notes of kimchi. It’s a good attempt at Korean tacos, but falls short of the versions I’ve tried at Korilla and Bann Next Door. The overall flavor profile is also oddly focused on the sweet side – given my experience at Xie Xie, I believe that Chef Sosa has a major sweet tooth – and a squirt of Sriracha is needed to bring any semblance of heat. For $9, it might not completely satisfy the hungrier among us, but if you must have Korean tacos, you could do far worse than this version.

Social Eatz Kung Pao chicken sandwich

On the other hand, Sosa hits a home run with the Kung Pao Chicken sandwich, which at $9 is not only a filling lunch, but also packs a whole heck of a lot of flavor in each bite. The sandwich deconstructs the elements of kung pao chicken, which prominently features peanuts as one of the primary flavors. Instead of using the whole legume, Sosa uses what is ostensibly peanut butter mayonnaise, giving the sandwich well rounded elements of sweetness and nuttiness to play with the soy and sesame marinated chunks of chicken.

This dish also comes with a small tin of fries, which I’m sure were appetizing at some point in their life, but were served cold and stale on my visit. I’ll give Social Eatz the benefit of the doubt as the dining room was empty during my visit, which spells certain doom for fries unless they’re cooked to order.

Social Eatz Imperial Hotdog

Filed under the category of “Delicious but insubstantial” was the ‘Imperialist hotdog’ ($8), which is composed of a house made chicken sausage, split and stuffed with a sweet onion relish and served on a toasty bun. As tasty as this dish is, it’s not enough for a meal and the addition of any of the sides would bring you well over the $10 mark.

Given Chef Sosa’s pedigree at high end restaurants such as Jean George, Spice Market, and Buddakan, he does a good job of restraining himself, creating food that’s not only a decent value for money, but also refined and flavorful. Despite the gimmicks and the fact that it’s one of the pricier Midtown lunch approved restaurants, I can get behind this opening – the food is simply good eatz.

The + (What somebody who likes this would say)

  • Good Asian inspired sandwiches to replace the void left by the closing of Xie Xie and Mantao
  • The food, even the items under $10, is very tasty
  • Is that Angelo Sosa I see? *Swoon*

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I’m not 100% full unless I spend more than $10
  • Everything is so dang sweet!
  • Top Chef Season 7 kind of sucked, and Angelo totally sabotaged Amanda, Tamesha, and Tiffany

Social Eatz, 232 E 53rd St (btw 2nd & 3rd Ave), 212-207-3339


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    The tacos definitely need a second tortilla. My taco fell apart when I got back to the office as soon as I picked it up. The sauce was on the bottom and the tortilla soaked it up. Also, I had gotten the freebie when he was giving it away before he opened. It was a homemade tortilla and was great…the one I bought after they opened was probably pre-packaged and looked like the one in Chris’s photo.

    I really enjoyed the Crispy Spring Rolls. They were tasty and had a good texture.

    The Hot Wings were good as well. They were crunchy, had a lot of meat, as well as good heat/flavor.

    I liked the hot dog, but wasn’t a fan of the kung pow wow sandwich — but only because I don’t like kung pow chicken. It tasted just like the dish.

    I’ve been meaning to go back and try a few more items, but haven’t found the time because you have to go there to order takeout. Hopefully they will offer seamless web or other delivery soon.

  • interestingly enough, their tilapia taco held up very well with 1 tortilla, which seemed to be multi-layered (some flecks of tortilla fell off during the meal). Also, I liked their KP wow, but found it messy as hell to eat. The fries I got were freshly and tasted like fresh cut fries you get at in-n-out. Love the shishito pepper stuff they put on em.

    Hot dog was meh–good, but not worth the price. Broccoli and cheddar soup was very good however. Also, I’m a big fan of the bimbimbap burger, which also comes with fries.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I guess I should add that standouts were the sauces that came with everything. They are really like nothing else I’ve ever gotten on the side with a meal before. The depth of flavor in them were great.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Absolutly love the fact that the Xpressions porno booth is featured in the background.

    Can only imagine what sort of nastiness is happening next door while im enjoying Korean tacos, lol.

  • Wow, cant wait to try it out, Its right down the block from me. Isnt Walle on the same block as well ?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I finally got to try Social Eatz for lunch yesterday after hearing all about it from all my co-workers. I ordered the bibimbap burger and was pleasantly surprised how Angelo embraced the traditional bibimbap dish into a burger. I devoured the entire thing and will be going back soon to try everything else on the menu!

  • My god, I just had the Tomato Curry soup the other night & I can’t stop thinking about how great it was, esp. since it wasn’t a first choice… amazing. It made the very good bibimbap burger seem like a sidedish.

  • Tried the Kung Pao Chicken today. The write up is pretty right on. It’s a good sandwich and much better than their burger. I had the burger a couple weeks ago. It was too moist and loose. The Kung Pao is a better choice. I don’t see myself going to this place often. The food is OK and the prices are reasonable, but it’s not a comfort food go-to typle place (for me).

    I love Angelo and I hope he does great!

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.