The restaurant Soces managed to fly under my radar until recently, and that’s a shame. This is a place I definitely want to go back to often.
The word “soces” is slang for “pals,” and, judging by the joyous uproar there the other night, the groups of friends filling the tables were all having a great time. So were we, delighted with the pretty restaurant (moldings, window-framed kitchen and exposed-stone walls); the attentive and amiable service; and, most of all, the exceptional food.
Sadly, all that joy was the source of the restaurant’s only drawback: the high decibel levels. When we were leaving, however, co-owner Kevin Deulio told us that the tables in the front of the restaurant (we were sitting all the way in the back) were quieter and assured us that curtains would soon be installed to help bring down the noise levels.
Back to the best part: the food, brought to you by chef Marius de Ponfilly, formerly of Clamato. Terry and I decided to go halves on everything, a wise decision considering how good each dish was. We started with a smashing dish of cockles (completely sand-free, as cockles rarely are) in a rich, dark Thai-style broth with lovage oil and a hint of cinnamon, served steaming hot. The other starter was even more amazing: a mushroom I’d never heard of, Lactarius deliciosus, or delicious milk caps, barbecued to perfection in a slightly sweet barbecue sauce, served with mustard leaves and sugared hazelnuts.
The offering of main courses was surprisingly limited, with only three choices, as opposed to seven for the starters: a fish burger at €16, venison at €42 and pork shoulder for two at €52. We ordered the first two. The fish burger was a star of the genre, with crunchy breaded fish, excellent homemade tartar sauce and a perfectly toasted bun. It came with a superb little salad of Sardinian fregula (bead-shaped pasta) with chickpeas.
While the burger was delightful, the barbecued biche (venison) was a dream. The knife slid through it effortlessly, and the rich flavor of the meat was enhanced rather than overwhelmed by the subtle taste of barbecue around the edges. The meat was served with more wonderful mushrooms – girolles this time – and sautéd black Tuscan kale (this was one of the few times I ever enjoyed eating kale). A dish to remember.
The desserts (two options) were also memorable: a brilliant classic tarte tatin with luscious crème fraîche, and a more unusual purée of Conference pears, surrounded by whipped fromage blanc and topped with sticks of meringue, the whole light and refreshing yet sumptuous.
Soces is also an écailler (shellfish restaurant), and the way our neighbors were happily slurping down oysters was another motivation for a return visit, as is the list of eight different cheeses on the menu.
Gather your pals and make a reservation as soon as possible!
See our Favorite Restaurants by Arrondissement page to find a good restaurant in the neighborhood where you want to eat.Favorite