If you finagled your way into Socialista last week and weren’t too busy being impressed with yourself, you may have noticed a new menu at Socialista Downstairs. It’s the handiwork of new head chef Sarah Pliner, formerly of Tabla, Tocqueville, Ducasse, and Aquavit. “We’re using classical French and American techniques with Cuban flavors,” Pliner tells us of the retooled food program.
What that means is chicken legs braised in red wine with chipotle and chocolate, and empanadas made by braising duck legs in red wine with hoisin sauce (“There’s a lot of Chinese influence in Cuba,” Pliner informs), mixing it with a sate of jícama, and serving it with a star-anise-infused crema. The post-11 p.m. menu (also served upstairs) includes a pressed steak sandwich and a burger topped with charred chiles and white Cheddar. Take note: The restaurant is a lot easier to get into than the lounge, Pliner says. Though it doesn’t accept reservations for small parties, you shouldn’t have trouble walking in, especially on the early side. (Note: No promises.)