Ventura Boulevard is the epicenter of the Valley — from Studio City to the wilds of Woodland Hills. Time was when food choices were rather dismal — fast food restaurants, occasionally good sushi, and salads replete with iceberg lettuce.
But those days are over — at least in part — thanks to culinary hotshots like Scratch/Restaurants’ Phillip Frankland Lee (and his partner in crime Margarita Kallas-Lee) and Exec Chef/Owner Aaron Robins (Boneyard Bistro, SOCA).
In March, Robins followed up his smash hit slow-cooked BBQ spot Boneyard Bistro with the sophisticated SOCA – featuring globally-inspired steak and seafood, along with a gin-centric cocktail program. And some really great popovers.
Veteran restaurateur Robins teams with General Managing Partner Rory Snipes who has designed the beverage program — featuring light,aromatic cocktails, including an assortment of Spanish Gin Tonics and a predominantly French wine list.
Let’s talk about those Gin & Tonics — the perfect cocktail after a steamy valley scorcher. The selection of traditional Spanish gin and tonics rotate weekly. On a recent visit, I had a G & T with champagne and elderflower liqueur. The inventive cocktail menu also includes drinks like Not My Jam with Loft & Bear vodka, apricot preserves, Cocchi Americano, and Lime-Up; and Milk & Honey Vesper with Black Cow vodka, Barr Hill gin, Cocchi Americano, and Meyer Lemon Peel, chilled. We’ll be back.
SOCA — which stands for Sherman Oaks, California — has a comprehensive menu — from seafood starters like towers for two or four; Oysters with Blood Orange Mignonette; and Shrimp Ceviche to inventive salads, small plates and share, and entrees. We devoured sliders on perfect buns from pastry chef Joy Cuervas (Bouchon Bakery). There’s also a nice selection of steaks, including a Creekstone Prime New York and a Prime Ribeye; an American Wagyu Flatiron; and a 30-day Dry Aged Creekstone Prime Tomahawk.
Cuervas is also a master at desserts — and the summer menu includes refreshing fruit-forward selections like Strawberry Raspado with Rhubarb-Tajin Pate de Fruit Granita and a Margarita Crisp; and Pineapple Semifreddo with Curried Pineapple, Saffron, Candied Pineapple Coconut Tapioca, and Chocolate Mint. Double yum.
If chocolate is a food group, try the Chocolate Babka Bread Pudding — with Housemade Babka, Dulce de Leche, and Crème Fraiche Mousse.
SOCA serves lunch and dinner, as well as Happy Hour, Tuesday through Friday. Happy Hour and dinner are available on Saturday. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.
Tuesday – Friday
11:30am – 2:30pm (Lunch)
3:00pm – 7:00pm (Happy Hour)
5:30 – 10:30pm (Dinner)
5:00 – 7:00pm (Happy Hour)
5:30 – 10:30pm (Dinner)
14015 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, California 91423
p. (818) 301 – 4300