We heard about Enoteca Sociale from various people and it has been on our list to visit for sometime now.
APPEARANCE & SWIRL
A tall, custom laser-cut door with a map of Rome welcomed us. Inside, the place was filled with warm reds, beige, and brown tiles. The wall on one side was clad with beige brick and had occasional aged-looking small windows. Opposite it, all the windows brought in plenty of warm shades from the sunset. There were a few cage lights suspended with white wires stretching inconsistently and shamelessly. They had a charm to them nonetheless. French cross-back chairs added to the eclectic feel.
We decided to enjoy our evening at their small side patio. It was a hard decision as the interior was definitely an ambiance worth submerging into as well.
A menu with not too many options (at the same time just enough) was handed to us. Just as cleanly designed (and a tad edgy) was their lengthily wine list. Our very polite waiter, Scott, walked us through the options with plenty of detail and we gladly followed his recommendations.
As we waited for all of us to gather, we decided to give their Aranchini a try. We enjoyed the warm sun rays from this early-fall sunset, while talking to sister under the two trees on the patio. One thing we were supposed to see is the child-like illustrations on their outdoor black board - a cat on a table enjoying wine. An odd choice which we didn't think reflected the atmosphere.
Cheri and I ordered a couple of glasses of wine to match our meals - the classic Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe and their fancy Veal Rigatoni.
We snacked on their fresh bread with olive oil, while waiting for the meal to arrive and sipped on Calcaire 2013 blend (Norman Hardie) - mainly chardonnay, some pinot gris, riesling. It was medium bodied, not acidic, nor oaky but floral and light. We also had their Valpolicella Ripasso 2012 (Musella, Veneto) - medium bodied, light smoky hints and very easy going.
We enjoyed the Aranchini which we remembered we have had in a Portuguese place before. Compact rice and cheese, fried in a shape of a ball, they were sitting in a lovely tomatoe-based sauce. Definitely a good choice for sharing. Our Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe was a very well done classic. We found the pasta was quite al dente - a bit too chewy for our liking. The generous amount of Pecorino cheese, which had even melted in chunks and the light creamy white sauce made all the difference here. The dish was a tad spicy from all that pepper, but added the necessary oomph. We enjoyed this dish, no doubt, however Cheri expressed his dislike at how salty it was.
The Braised Veal Shank rigatoni had a variety of veal - some pulled meat as well as soft bone marrow bits. This time, we felt that the al dente pasta added a chewy texture to balance off the tender meat. Topped with gremolata herbs mix gave the hints of gamy meat a pleasant twist.
Even though both our dishes seemed like small portions, they were just right. The wines also helped enhance the dishes and enjoy a slower Italian atmosphere. Knowledgeable service, excellent atmosphere and affordable prices for quality meals make it hard not to recommend Enoteca Sociale to anyone in the neighborhood or passing through. Bring friends along as well!