Photo by David Roberts
It’s challenging to get food intel from Society American Grill and Social Club. The bar and restaurant’s website lands on a dog-grooming service in Phoenix, but Yelp posts the menu and sweetbreads and butternut risotto sound right, so I zoom to Shockoe Slip on a Saturday night. Once seated, I soak in the dimly lit rose and copper hues of the space; it’s an upscale-looking club with two bars and an empty dining room.
I soon discover that the Yelp menu is old. There is now an updated menu on Facebook listing more traditional bar eats: burgers, cheese sticks, big salads, sandwiches. Mains include grilled salmon and New York strip. Hand-breaded mozzarella sticks arrive tasty but without napkins to wipe the grease off my fingers. Flatware appears with the entrées: steak and a grilled pesto chicken sandwich. My Smoked Belle Isle Maple Old Fashioned cocktail won’t be replacing the bourbon standard; the moonshine muddled by stale cinnamon tincture and bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup is an unpleasant riff on a classic.
Shortly after serving us, our waitress asks us to settle up before a register change-out. I’m just into my second bite of steak that’s served with buttery mashed potatoes overshadowed by plump, fresh asparagus. She picks up the check, asks us if we need change, and never returns. On the way out, I notice a picture of my dinner on a poster promoting Saturday steak night. It’s half the cost of what I just paid, a deal for the quality at $10 but not as impressive at $20. I point to it and ask for details, to which she replies, “I don’t know what steak night is. Great question!” then comes back with this answer: “It’s cheap steak. We’re trying to build our dinner business.”
Society American Grill and Social Club
1421 E. Cary St.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Prices: $7 to $21