Last year, when Sala closed, I was a little crushed because I only had two chances to enjoy the delightful drinks they offered. So I waited and waited … and waited some more to find out what would replace it. There was a glimmer of hope when construction activity started in the former Sala space. What arrived wasn’t worth the year of waiting, but I’d have waited six months.
My first venture to Cedars Social resulted in them turning my coworkers and me away for happy hour and asked to come back an hour later; we felt dejected (ok, we were pissed). When we finally made it inside a week later, we sat at five two-tops pushed together and commenced ordering. (If you can, avoid the booths because the cushions are deceptively fluffy and firmer padding is necessary to avoid feeling like a midget.) I started with one of the weekly specials, a Green with Ginvy; with only one exception, the rest of my nine coworkers ordered Moscow Mules. My first sip was so strong and flavorful that it sent me flying – literally. I put the drink down and did a crazy combination of a shimmy and whinny (yes, it was a bit embarrassing). After finishing my first drink, I jumped on the bandwagon and ordered the drink of the evening, the Moscow Mule … and it was incredible. The owner of our company, a savvy lady with a discerning palate, said (verbatim), “This is the best thing I’ve ever had in my entire life!” That’s quite a testimonial if I’ve ever heard one.
They claim to make only “classic” cocktails (more on that later), so if you want a list of liquid concoctions you’d never dream of trying, check out one of their menus that look straight out of a 1930s schoolhouse. You’ll find a list of delightful concoctions that are “tributes” to original cocktails and seasonal fresh fruit, “hand -crafted” cocktails to satiate even the most sophisticated booze hound’s palate. That being said, I’m a little peeved at them because they refused to make me a dirty martini (twice). Seriously? In my book, that’s as classic as a cocktail can get.
The drinks are great – I’ll give them that, but some weren’t of a portion that I’d call generous. The “pint” glasses seemed to be a bit smaller than a full pint and the cocktail glasses looked like they were made for smurfs (yes, it’s smurfs and not smurves; I looked it up).
Our waitress recommended cheese plates for the table which were a delight (go heavy on the cheese and light on the “salumi” – yes, C.S. serves “salumi” and not “salami”). Since my dad was joining me after my happy hour for dinner, I was eager to try the rest of their fare. After my dad arrived, my experience turned south.
If you’re looking to have conversation with someone, you’ll need to take chalkboards and a few sticks because the music is too loud to have a decent conversation … so it’s totally a great first date place (ha?). We even asked them to turn the music down a smidge – call me crazy, but somehow it almost seemed louder after.
The place as a whole has a warm feel and is anchored by a long bar, a small library for intimate groups, and a large, round fire pit. As a whole, the place has a decidedly 1960s bachelor pad vibe – I secretly wanted to clap to see if the lights would dim and a disco ball would drop from the ceiling. The patio has another fire pit that lights up a view of the Dallas skyline that is to die for – a definite must for the great Dallas spring weather we’re experiencing now.
So, I guess you’ll want to know about the food. I am not a food critic and I don’t fancy myself as one. The food, though, was bland. I had the chicken and waffles and the chicken was tasteless. I’ll go for the Victor Tango dish over C.S.’s take on it any day of the week. We also had meatloaf and potatoes, which unfortunately followed the chicken and waffle’s example. After conveying my indifference toward the food to friends, they said their experiences were much different. We realized that they all had eaten there on weekends and I ate there during the week. Call me crazy, but maybe the chef took a few days off. To read an opinion from someone who enjoyed their meal, check out this review from The Dallas Diva.
In short, this place is good for a couple drinks and a cheese plate, but don’t dedicate dinner to it unless you are sure the resident chef and not the sous chef is running the game.
Drink strength: 4.3
The Cedars Social
1326 S Lamar St | South Lamar