The Social HouseJessica | September 1, 2009
Since Mario is in town, breakfast is always a must, so we tried yet another Howell Mill Rd. breakfast spot after church on a rainy Sunday. The Social House serves breakfast and brunch 7 days a week, and like most other breakfast-centric eateries in Atlanta, had a line out the door. The restaurant’s website advertises Georgia-grown food served in a “bright, cheerful” environment. Aside from the room’s brightness by virtue of its many windows, “cheerful” is not what came to mind when I was met with a harried-looking waitstaff and an unfriendly host.
Because there is no real waiting area at The Social House patrons cram into a small foyer in front of the host’s stand. It was raining, so a little overflow ended up in the dining area. One table in particular up front became a “fish bowl” with people standing on all sides. The first set of diners who declined the table were promptly seated at another one that was open. The next set, however, after requesting a different table that was in the process of being bused, were told “I’ll see what I can do” and got skipped over on the list. Less than 5 minutes later, another group further down the list was seated at the table they requested. They were told that “when someone turns down a table, I move down the list and you have to wait.” Similarly, Mario and I requested an empty table away from the front door, were skipped over, and had another group seated there. I’ve never worked as a host and have no idea how table assignments work. But I’ve never seen a host seat people in this manner, nor respond with such an attitude when questioned on his actions. I was hoping our brunch would redeem our waiting experience, but unfortunately, I was disappointed here as well.
I tried Social House’s Andouille Cream Cheese Omelette (3 farm eggs, herbed cream cheese, andouille sausage, fresh tomatoes) with cheese grits, and Mario had the Fried Chicken and Georgia Blueberry Waffles with hash browns:
My omelette was only ok. The sausage was good, but I think that was more a property of the sausage itself than any particular cooking technique. The herbed cream cheese I was looking forward to was only detectable in 2 bites of the dish; though granted, it was good when I could taste it. The cheese grits were a lot like homemade both texture and taste-wise, but I am absolutely certain there was not a shred of cheese in them. When I asked the waitress, she assured me not only that there was cheese, but that she’d bring me more to add in since I couldn’t taste any. The extra cheese never came.
Mario’s chicken was very well seasoned and juicy, and the Belgian-style waffle was light and tasty as well. We were both intrigued by the hash brown, which came in the form of a patty and had a really interesting flavor. They were crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and were very good.
Though The Social House had some other menu items I was looking forward to trying on another visit, I doubt I’ll be returning based solely on my customer service experience. Do Better!