Executive Chef Blair Wilson Adds New and Fresh Flavors to Southern Regional Dinner Menu
The Social Club, the local gem located in Kimpton’s Surfcomber South Beach Hotel, has launched a refreshing new summer menu that is sure to keep locals and visitors coming back to the restaurant for local and fresh flavors added to the restaurant’s already popular Southern regional fare.
Expertly executed by Executive Chef Blair Wilson, The Social Club’s new summer offerings effortlessly pair fresh local ingredients with Wilson’s regional Southern fare. “I love Southern cooking, but summertime in South Florida means beach and sun,” explains Wilson. “This season calls for lighter and more refreshing dining options. We are lucky to live in South Florida where we have access to amazing local farms that offer great fruits and vegetables; as well as having access to some of the freshest catches due to our location. I’ve had fun finding delicious ways to marry these fresh ingredients with my cuisine, giving it a fresh Florida twist,” concludes Wilson.
The new menu remains true to The Social Club’s notion of convivial dining meant to spark conversation and delight senses, in the middle of the bustling yet comfortable atmosphere of the artsy Art Deco lobby. New meant-to-be-shared social Plates ($10-$18) include Farmhouse Biscuits, and assortment of perfectly baked bread made in-house and served sweet honey butter, bourbon bacon jam,, and hot pepper jam; Pickled Peach Salad, Chef Blair’s “celebration of local produce,” featuring mangos, home-pickled and fresh peaches, whipped goat cheese crema, lemon zest, roasted Marcona almonds, shaved red onions and drizzled with champagne vinaigrette; Grilled Pineapple Ceviche made with fresh Corvina, yuzu, leche de Tigre and served with crispy plantain; Lamb Empanadas, slow-roasted lamb shoulder with caramelized onion, golden raisins, and harissa; and Smoked Porchetta Tacos topped with roasted corn and chipotle-lime aioli and nduja hot sauce. In addition to these new delectable options, Social Plate favorites remain such as Cypress Creek Alligator, brined in buttermilk for 24-hours before being lightly breaded, perfectly frying and served alongside charred brussels sprouts, barbeque pecans, benne seeds, and Paradise Farms honey; 96 Hour St. Louis Ribs in sugar cane brine, sorghum-toasted sesame glaze and jicama slaw; and the delectable Charred Octopus with pickled peppers, roasted olives, and garlic-dill labneh.
The summer menu showcases new hearty Large Plates ($20-$36) such as Pecan Smoked Heritage Chicken, tender poussin – specially brought in from Ocala – brined and sous-vided, and served with shiitake-Brussel hash, cast-iron twice baked potato and habanero honey. Other new Large Plates include Blackened Florida Shrimp with charred shishito pepper, summer squash, and pencil-cob grits; Ricotta Gnocchi with heirloom tomato succotash, local Zellwood corn topped with fresh dill and shaved Parmesan cheese. Menu favorites prevail such as Butterflied Caribbean Red Snapper topped with pico de gallo, chorizo fried rice and black bean sauce; a scrumptious Bone Marrow Burger topped with house-made bourbon bacon jam, American cheese, house pickles, and spicy mayo; and a Charred Flat Iron Steak with cured tomatoes, jalapeño chimichurri, queso Blanco, and garlic herb Foccacia. Sides ($10) do not disappoint with options including Pencil Cob Grits with roasted corn salsa; Pimento Mac ‘N’ Cheese with brown butter garlic crumb; Chorizo Fried Rice with sweet peppers, cilantro, and ancho chile; and Crispy Yucca with smoked chile pepper and garlic herb mayo dipping sauces.
Desserts ($7-$16) round off the menu and are meant to evoke and encourage the same idea of coming together to enjoy an evening of great food. Created by Chef Wilson and his bar team, the dessert menu features two sections: desserts and boozy dessert drinks. Inspired by Wilson’s recent tour through the South and Miami’s Latin culture, the new collection of sweets and dessert drinks is the perfect finishing point to his regional menu. Dessert options begin with homemade Ricotta Doughnuts, a secret recipe, generously sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with dulce de leche and espresso hazelnut fudge dipping sauces; S’Mores Bread Pudding with maple-infused croissant, toasted marshmallow, dark chocolate, topped with vanilla gelato and bbq pecans; and a classic Old School Brownie Sundae, triple chocolate brownie, vanilla gelato, espresso hazelnut fudge, black cherry, and whipped cream. Miami’s Latin culture as well as Wilson’s Southern influence shine in The Social Club’s dessert drinks menu with whimsical concoctions such as El Cafecito Royale – Wilson’s ode to Miami’s Cafecito Cubano – featuring a shot of espresso, Michter’s American Whiskey, Amaretto Disaronno and Bailey’s; El Batido Social is The Social Club’s boozy take on the Latin fruit shakes, made with Cachaça, coconut milk, orgeat, lime juice, and cinnamon. American Coffee or Café Americanos also served, with a Booze it up the option of Tia Maria, Bailey’s or “Buca.”
A CIA graduate, Blair Wilson (35) joined the Kimpton family in February 2013 after several years of cooking in top kitchens throughout DC and the Southeast. Years earlier, the Virginia native fell into his life’s passion almost accidentally while working at a plantation and farm near his Alexandria home where he had to help pull off a large catering event that was short-staffed. Wilson stepped up to the challenge, manning the kitchen, impressing his boss and ultimately falling in love with art. His affinity for Southern food and barbecue stems from deep within his roots, while his appreciation for fresh, local ingredients was embedded in him while working on the farm. The young chef has done stints at the Charleston Place Hotel in South Carolina, at Colorado’s Broadmoor Hotel, the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, and Jackson 20 in Old Town Alexandria, among others. Trading colonial charm for Miami chispa, he joined The Social Club in early 2014 and has spent the last two years truly acclimating himself to the vibrant South Beach culture, South Florida’s unique seasons, and the exotic flora and fauna now at his doorstep.
located at 1717 Collins Avenue at the Surfcomber Hotel in South Beach