Restaurant Sherman Oaks

SOCA Builds on Boneyard Bistro Success in Sherman Oaks

Chef-owner Aaron Robins and GM-partner Rory Snipes have built on the success of beer, bourbon and barbecue-fueled Boneyard Bistro by opening SOCA, a second Sherman Oaks, CAlifornia restaurant that captures more global influences and replaces Café Cordiale. “I opened SOCA for many reasons,” says Aaron. “I was ready to grow, and we had been looking […]

Chef-owner Aaron Robins and GM-partner Rory Snipes have built on the success of beer, bourbon and barbecue-fueled Boneyard Bistro by opening SOCA, a second Sherman Oaks, CAlifornia restaurant that captures more global influences and replaces Café Cordiale.

“I opened SOCA for many reasons,” says Aaron. “I was ready to grow, and we had been looking for a second location for Boneyard—with not much success—when this space showed up as a possibility. I spoke with Rory Snipes about it, and he liked the space as well. Rory had to be on board; a large reason for building SOCA was his contribution to the success of Boneyard. I am indebted to him. He built an amazing bar program as well as becoming an outstanding manager. Now I am proud that he is a partner in SOCA. Our focus for SOCA had to be different than Boneyard due to its close proximity. I went back to my early training of higher-end cuisine. I also looked into myself on what I like to eat and what our neighborhood is missing. Boneyard filled a gap in the neighborhood; SOCA is doing the same. The Valley deserves more nice restaurants, and more are coming.”

The space features 28 seats on the patio and 70 seats in a dining room with a sea blue, cream, grey and apricot color palette that’s designed to “emulate a bright, spring day at a high-end Mediterranean resort.” Couches, banquettes, walnut accents and a 10-foot driftwood sculpture all help round out the design.

Aaron clarified key differentiators with his new concept, saying, “As Boneyard evolved over the last 11 years, the food became more casual and comfort-oriented. SOCA is closer to the original Boneyard Bistro items on the bistro side of the menu. SOCA’s food is much more focused, as the dishes are more refined and elegant. I feel SOCA’s dishes will be more like jazz is to music, while Boneyard is rock ’n’ roll.”

Aaron and protégé Oliver Krant, previously with Pok Pok and Gwen, are featuring Henderson Bay oysters with blood orange fennel mignonette and two-tomato Thai serrano salsa, seafood towers and, soon enough, gravlax and caviar service. Meatier options include Basque-style pickled beef tongue with house-made grilled bread salad; and Butt, Belly & Bone, three Berkshire pork preparations plated with shishito peppers, for the table; as well as chile de arbol-spiced chocolate panna cotta, which is just one standout dessert.

Aaron explained the concept’s development, saying, “Rory and I started with a more Latin/Spanish concept, but it felt too restrained and focused on one style of food. I pull ideas from everywhere to get inspiration. Also, my kitchen is collaborative, so we have influences and ideas from many people with different backgrounds. We as a group develop new dishes. I feel I also know my neighborhood pretty well and what they have been wanting. I think we have built a beautiful restaurant—one that we are proud of and that I think the neighborhood is as well.”

Rory earned acclaim for his craft beer and bourbon expertise at Boneyard Bistro. At SOCA, “light, aromatic” cocktails get a larger spotlight. For example, Flowers in Florence combines Bols Barrel-Aged Genever, lavender-infused Aperol, Bonal Gentiane Quina and Royal Rouge. Crisol incorporates Damoiseau Rhum Agricole, yuzu, mirin and bay leaf simple syrup. You’ll also find a mainly French wine list.

SOCA’s opening hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to 10:30 p.m.

14015 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-301-4300

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