The House Ramen at Cedars Social. Photo by Kevin Marple

Restaurant Review: The Cedars Social

Amid menu changes, this bar's food remains decidedly upscale.

There’s something about the liquid-amber light that slides through The Cedars Social and bathes the room in a golden glow. On a quiet night, the light slants, the fire pit flits, cedar smoke has left its trace in the Old Fashioned, and you step outside of time. The bar program remains both retro and vital. Meanwhile, with new management and a new chef, things have changed menu-side since the headier days under John Tesar. The fare runs more standard, with flatbreads and artisanal cheese and charcuterie boards. Deviled eggs get just a touch of smoky paprika. Attention to sourcing means short ribs are Akaushi Wagyu and pork belly comes with heirloom beans and kale. But dry Kobe beef and pork meatballs revealed the kitchen’s flaws, their San Marzano tomato sauce offering nothing but harsh edges and a few stray scraps of red cabbage. Amid the variations on meat and potatoes, I would happily make a habit of slurping the house ramen, squid-ink noodles and Porcini dashi broth a dark backdrop for bright flashes of ginger and black pepper, a tangle of wild mushrooms, and a crowning fried egg (hold the overcooked Gulf shrimp). As upscale bar food, it hits a sweet groove.

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