SOCA Reformats With More Small Plates And Lower Price Point
SOCA chef-owner Aaron Robins reformats after celebrating their one-year anniversary in Sherman Oaks, delivering more small plates, a retooled beverage program and lower price points.
- CategoryEat & Drink
- Written byJoshua Lurie
When Aaron Robins first launched SOCA last spring in Sherman Oaks, the chef envisioned an elevated Mediterranean dining experience. To coincide with the restaurant’s first anniversary and to stay sustainable in an industry facing rising food and labor costs, he’s reformatted the menu with more small plates and lower price points.
Aaron explains, “It was important to me to reflect on how the community was perceiving our menus, step back and look at from their point of view, with help from our new GM, Christine Tran [former co-owner of Peasant Wine Bistro]. We realized the menu wasn’t translating the way we intended, so we decided to reformat and change things up.”
“SOCA’s original menu was very over-the-top and came across as a special occasion restaurant, which was not the intent,” Aaron adds. “The goal is to reintroduce creativity with restraint, creating familiar yet innovative dishes.”
New dishes include Vietnamese lamb riblets braised with red wine and mint that are served with refreshing peanut and green papaya salad. Kampachi crudo is another menu addition. SOCA’s raw yellowtail preparation includes cilantro oil, aji amarillo relish and cucumber espuma. Also new: spicy flatbread that co-stars house-made merguez sausage, tomatoes, onions, za’atar and harissa.
Carnivores need not worry. SOCA continues its emphasis on meat—oak-grilling impressive cuts of meat like a Kurobuta bone-in pork chop and Snake River Farms American Wagyu tomahawk.
Christine also retooled the beverage program. She’s made it easier to navigate the wine list, which now features three simple categories: sparkling/Champagne, chardonnay and worldly whites/rosé. She features smaller producers from California, France and Italy.
New signature drinks include the Fancy Face, a bright cocktail featuring Vapid vodka from The Spirit Guild in DTLA, St. Germain, mixed berry simple syrup, lemon, sparkling wine and mint. Even though gin is no longer the primary focus, you can still find serious gin and tonics. Spanish G&T – No. 24, for example, teams St. George Spirits Terroir gin with East Imperial yuzu tonic, blackberry, shiso leaf and dried orange wheel.
A more verdant atmosphere is also part of the revamp. Diners will note several mature plants that have been added to the airy design—matching the renewed energy that permeates throughout the restaurant.
14015 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-301-4300
Woodland Hills is getting busy. If you’ve driven down Topanga Boulevard lately, you’ve witnessed the construction underway for the 550,000-square-foot, mixed-use, open-air development that is being promoted as a “new central gathering place for shopping, dining, events, entertainment and leisure.” Along with massive anchors Crate & Barrel and Costco, there will be a slew of […]
Of all the seafood concepts in Southern California, The Boiling Crab just might be the most popular—and the most fun. Dada Ngo and Sinh Nguyen founded their Garden Grove-based business in 2004, and it draws lines out the door in neighborhoods like Alhambra and Koreatown. They’ve just opened their 19th Vietnamese-Cajun outpost in Woodland Hills. […]