Social House

This review refers to the restaurant that was located at TI. A new version, located in Crystals at CityCenter, was announced in 2010.

TI (last visit: October 2006).
Japanese.


This is part of TI's continuing makeover.  It offers a modern take on Japanese food, as well as the obligatory sushi bar.  However, Social House is a little more than that.  Operated by the same people that run Pure at Caesars Palace, it's designed to be half restaurant and half lounge.  At night, the dining tables convert into cocktail tables.




The Menu
Social House's chef left Nobu to work here.  The overall feel of the menu reflects his Nobu roots, but with some new twists.  Choices include Kobe taro chips with peanut sauce, coconut lemon grass soup, citrus peel miso cod, soy mirin kurobuta pork belly, and tamarind short ribs.  The sushi bar serves up the usual suspects.



The Atmosphere
The feel of the place varies according to where you sit, and when you go.  There's a sushi bar, a couple of other bars, indoor seating, and outdoor seating.  Late at night, the place turns into a hybrid restaurant/lounge; the high tech tables adjust to become smaller and more lounge like.

During early evening hours, Social House feels mostly like a restaurant.  I ate in the lounge.  It has dark wood floors and dark wood tables.  The lighting level is low, provided mostly by small lights hanging in dozens of wooden bird cages suspended from the ceiling.  Moderately loud Latin American music, with a heavy beat, is playing.  The lounge partly faces the Strip - and TI's pirate show.  An interesting twist!

The staff was predominately young and female, with short, slinky outfits (not that I noticed).  They were very friendly, but perhaps inexperienced: there were a couple of service lapses during my meal, even though the place wasn't crowded.  Given that Social House had opened so recently, it wasn't surprising.



The Meal
Sesame Kelp Salad was a pretty good version of a standard dish.  The green seaweed was tender yet crunchy, with sesame seeds and enough sesame oil to give it flavor.  It was a very large portion, and would have been a good candidate for sharing.

I followed that up with Orange Peel Miso Cod, plus a bowl of steamed rice.  Not so long ago, this would have been deemed exotic; nowadays, it's pretty common.  However, that's not to say it wasn't good.  Indeed, the fish was soft yet flaky, cooked just right.  The sweet-but-not-too-sweet glaze was nicely flavored.

Social House prides itself on its sake selection.  I'm not a sake expert, but it's fun to try different types.  This is a good place to experiment.  The sake was served in a very attractive bamboo carafe, with matching bamboo cup; a nice touch.



Summary
I'm having some trouble providing an evaluation because I had just one simple meal, and I wasn't around late enough in the evening to see what the place was like as a night spot.  As a spot for a light early dinner, I'd say it's pretty good, with reasonable prices.



The Bill
The meal was $26 for two courses and a bowl of rice, plus drinks, tax and tip.


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