Review: 49 Social
Opening up not long after the somewhat surprising shuttering of The Ivy in Downtown Crossing, 49 Social has taken over the beautiful, three-story space. The décor hasn’t changed much (but then, it doesn’t really need to) and retains a masculine-meets-feminine appeal with exposed brick and wrought iron detailing blended with soft lighting and a gentle color palate.
Chef Michael Lishchynsky, formerly of the Four Seasons here in Boston and known for spending time delighting New York crowds with his culinary gymnastics, is a certified genius when it comes to combining and refining flavors. Everything we ate from start to finish was, truly, a standout, and nothing escaped immediate gobbling.
To give you some pointers for your inevitable visit, the tuna sashimi ($17) jumped off the plate with its perfectly sweet, sour and spicy chili sauce and soy pearls; similarly, the impressively plated duo of beef ($16) featured a craveable tartare and mouth-watering tea-smoked filet.
49 Social is in the midst of their soft opening right now, which can be a dangerous time to try a new restaurant while it works out the kinks and sometimes missteps. Rest assured that 49 Social is firing on all cylinders, so our advice is to go now and often before the floodgates open and everyone flocks to this downtown gem.
Drink this: The bartenders are certified mixologists, so if you let them know what kind of flavors you like, they’ll whip something unique up for you on the spot. That’s not to say that the cocktail menu is a slouch by any stretch—our favorites were the fresh and lightly sweet Cherry Bomb ($12) with cherry rum, aloe and Thai basil and the Sugar & Spice ($12), a zinger of citrus flavor with a subtle back-of-the-throat heat.
Eat this: Believe us when we say it will be hard for you to go wrong. The pork tenderloin roulade ($27) is a beautifully cooked blend of wild boar sausage and pancetta with a downright drinkable side of pork jus, and the truffle flatbread ($14) has a perfectly balanced consistency of crisp and velvety textures with wild mushrooms, shaved black truffles and spicy arugula.
Sit here: The long bar area is probably best for those who want to be in the midst of the bustle, while the upstairs seating could appeal to those looking for a more intimate meal. Stay tuned over the next few weeks when they finish brightening up the lower bar—that’ll be your go-to for private event space and possible wine tastings and special entertainment.
Conversation piece: One thing you’ll note as soon as you enter—49 Social may have one of the warmest, most competent, knowledgeable staffs out there. The attentiveness is impressive and organic, so that you never lack for anything.