I've endured tales of the eminent debut of The Cedars Social for the better part of a year - and even walking through the space a week ago one needed allot of imagination and a good deal of faith in one's proprietor pals to see the potential. Now it's all real. Welcome to The Cedars Social.
^ In my opinion - this is by far the most satisfying use of the space, at 1326 S. Lamar, that has previously housed Amuse and Sala. It's warm, retro, alive - it feels like hanging out in a friend's living room - from a simpler time. Oh, and there's kick-ass cocktails and bad-ass food.
This place is ALL about cocktails and hanging out - they call it "a cocktail den and comfort food kitchen." But before they open the doors for reals - we get a preview of the space this week during the run up to Super Bowl XLV, thanks to the 5 Supper Bowl dinners. Last night's dinner was the first service at Cedars and featured chef Tim Byres of Smoke.
^ But first some hors d' oeuvres by chef John Tesar, who created the Cedars menu for owner (and former Green Bay Packers linebacker) Brian Williams. Tesar will open the kitchen at Cedars and be cooking nightly for the next few weeks - ahead of the debut of his One Arts Plaza joint, The Commissary.
^ We all immediately fell in love with the room.
^ Consulting Sommelier D'Lynn Proctor steals a sip from his private stash; as Tim Byres and John Tesar explain the evening's menu.
^ Byres' clever and delicious Boudin Balls & Brick Roux Gumbo with Smoked Chicken & Sausage.
^ The guys prepping Tim's Smoked Pheasant & Rio Star Grapefruit Salad with Sprouts, Radicchio & Almonds. (The cylinder is removed prior to service.)
^ The dramatic open pit fireplace is comfortable and welcoming in the space.
^ Sweetbreads and Oxtail - featuring a winning spin on German Potato Salad.
Former Mansion Pastry Sous Chef Corey Thompson's Citrus Panna Cotta: and homemade pies by Tracy Tesar. (Trace - that Buttermilk Pie just ain't right! OMG!)
^ Peeps facebooking the meal, no doubt.
^ Tim and friends.
^ after... more cocktails; and conversation in the library. A major part of this concept is Michael Martensen's cocktail program. I'll have much more to say about this once the place is officially open.
^ Nice to have JT back in the kitchen - his Supper Bowl dinner is Feb 1, but you can try his Cedars menu after things settle down next week; ^ Owner Brian Williams, happy to have the first night in the history books.
^ Get over to The Cedars Social and explore its many delights. Nice job, guys.