Written by Salvatore DiBenedetto [@TheGrubfather]
After a large buzz in the Tri-State Restaurant Club’s group, I had my standards set high for LB Social. Situated in the destination worthy Long Beach, this spot adds value to the thriving Summer town. There’s a good feeling when you walk into LB Social; it’s cool without trying too hard, thoughtful without propaganda and organically interesting. It’s a place you can go to feel good.
And there’s no shortage of feel good vibes here. Surrounded by craft liquor, beer and wine, the bar menu has a special place at LB Social. “The drink menu is something that means a lot to me.” Owner Matt Hisiger proudly told me. “I wanted it to reflect the way we do food; powerful ingredients used right.” From the looks of the drink menu, the LB Social bar team is hitting all the bases from true classics to dynamic signature cocktails.
So what about the food?
Before I began exploring the menu, I was thrilled to learn about Chef Matt’s culinary roots. After training under some big names, he went on to own the acclaimed Panama Hatties before moving on to a culinary director position at H on the Harbor. “Learning from great chefs and owning a famed restaurant is something I’m really proud of.” Chef explained to me excitedly, “But there was always a small void I couldn’t fill, at least until I opened LB Social”
Matt went on to explain to me how much this restaurant really means to him. “It’s a place I could call my own. From design to menu, it’s me and that’s priceless. It was important for me be able to call LB Social home and I think that’s what I’ve achieved.”
As I began diving into the menu a few things became clear immediately: Local sourcing was taken very seriously and simplicity was a shining factor. Interestingly enough, as soon as I took a bite of my grilled octopus, Chef Matt told me LB Social’s motto: Quality ingredients, simply prepared.
“I’m really serious about how we source. I don’t have a big truck of frozen food showing up here every week, that’s not how we’re doing it. I find myself happiest browsing through markets, hand picking what’s going on my plates.” – I admired that, a lot.
This was all fine and dandy, but how the heck did the food taste? From the grilled octopus (which proved to be insanely tender) to crispy yet succulent chicken dumplings to tender jumbo scallops the LB Social menu impressed.
Yet, it was Chef Matt’s self professed pièce de résistance that made the whole experience unforgettable: Chicken Parmesan. I know what you’re thinking “I’ve had a great chicken parm before, keep it moving.” but this is not your normal chicken parmesan, in fact, it may be one of the top five I’ve had in my entire life. Don’t take this recommendation lightly either as chicken parmesan is one of my favorite dishes, period. It’s massive, it’s beautiful and it’s incredibly flavorful.
LB Social nails all the positives of a Chef-owned restaurant with a passionate, witty ambiance that pairs perfectly with food and drink menus that are good for the soul. Its industrial-chic setting is great for date nights, group gatherings alike. PS: Do it right and make a day out of it by exploring the surrounding Long Beach neighborhood.