Local Food Eater – Find Best Ethnic Local Food Places | Clorder

New Global-Inspired Dishes at Inspired SOCA in Sherman Oaks

Spread the love

Chef-owner Aron Robbins’ new global-inspired lunch program ($14-25) arrives just in time for summer in his spiffy new steak and seafood destination, SOCA  in Sherman Oaks.  It is as contemporary, as it is timeless.   Chef Robbins and his staff capture the tastes of  South America and Southeast Asia accented by French techniques in  sandwiches, salads, and small plates.  The flavors are classic, bold and clear,  each dish with a memorable unique twist.

No. 8 Spanish new Spanish Gin Cocktail Menu

“Refreshing, satisfying and original”  also covers the new SOCA menu of Spanish Gin tonics ($14).  The cocktails combine selected Gins with tonic water and a variety of fruits, berries, herbs and botanicals.   No. 8 (above) shows off the enticing ingredients: Barr Bill Gin, Fever Tree Bitter Lemon, Shiso, Lemon Peel, Ardbeg Candied Ginger.  The list is numbered because the menu is frequently rotated.  There is even a friendly note on the bottom, “if you don’t see what you’re looking for please ask!”

The elegant, gleaming SOCA with roll up patio window shades and a stunning interior (image courtesy of SOCA)

Robbins told us that the encourages his staff, headed by Chef Oliver Krant, to be creative.  We know that it was his own grandmother’s old-school style of Jewish cooking that originally inspired his culinary career; he did not need to mention that he as overseer of the menu has mastered the basics of bold, appealing combinations, refined and totally complementary to each other.

Robbins is the only valley member of LA’s “insiders’  Top Chefs” that have worked their solid magic for decades, including  Bruce Marder, Neal Fraser and Hans Rockenwagner.

Smoke River Farms American Wagyu (Image courtesy SOCA Restaurant)

Menu highlights include  magnificent burger of Smoke River Farms American Wagyu — and it is about the best burger anywhere.  I am not a fan of Wagyu because it lacks texture;  Robbin’s burger utilizes this attribute as it should be.   He adds the perfect complement of Grafton Cheddar, Roasted Shallot-Tomato Aioli, Arugula, House Pickled Onion, Shallot-Sherry Compote on a House Made roll and (addictive) skinny frites.

You might know Robbins as the long-time proprietor of Boneyard Bistro http://boneyardbistro.com/down the street in Studio City, the “go-to place” for ribs.  We on “the other side of the hill” know him as the devoted valley “native” and community-minded activist we often see at events.  Robbins, who was raised in  Encino, makes you believe that LA has continuity on some level.  He can rhapsodize easily and knowledgeably on each Ventura Boulevard community’s identity and history.

In these shaky times, both in the restaurant and the political world as Robbins pointed out, we begin with our favorite dish of the day, dessert, first.  Here it is the spectacular Strawberry Raspado – Rhubarb-Tajin Pate de Fruit, Margarita Crisp ($12).  It has every texture your little mouth could desire on a hot day – crunchy, smooth, crispy and chewy. Even if this dessert is without an ethnic background, it  makes history on its own.


A lover of the chopped salad, this one is a new favorite: Mediterranean Chop with Grilled Artichokes & Shitakes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Fresh Tomato, French Feta, Hearts of Palm, Mediterranean Vinaigrette and julienne salami.  The popular Korean Crab Dumplings were not a favorite because on a hot day they can cook to a hard consistency.

Southeast Asian Steak Salad($20) needs only the ingredient list to prove its classic-in-the-making dish qualities:  marinated grilled flank steak, Thai herbs, beef nuac cham, shaved lemongrass & shallots, and frisee.

A Fresh Fire-Roasted Albacore Tuna Salad Sandwich ($19), thoughtfully cut into slices to share here, features a of medley of fresh herbs, caper aioli, red onion, tomato, and greens

Dry-Aged Prime Beef Dip ($20) with arugula, balsamic fig-onion marmalade, creamed horseradish, and St. Agur blue cheese also shows off Chef Robbins’ way with meat. We toast it and the menu with a second No. 8.

SOCA, 14015 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.  Hours are on the website.



Spread the love
Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.