So.Cial is actually two restaurants—the first is a sit down restaurant with an oyster bar serving West Coast type fare. The other, is a custom butchershop and deli. During our Gastown excursions, Case and I have often passed by So.Cial, which is housed in a heritage building called Le Magasin that straddles both Water Street and Cordova.
Just off the Cordova entrance, at the mouth of an alleyway sits the So.Cial butchershop and deli. The shop is a single room with a horizontal glass refrigerator separating the butchers from the customers. The only dining area is on the opposite side of the room where a makeshift bar with a row of stools take up the far wall. Throughout the floors and corners of the shops laid sacks and sacks of potatoes.
Just behind the butchers, overhead, is a chalkboard menu which listed the sandwiches and meats offered by the butchery. A note was scrawled letting patrons know that only one bag of chips would be given out per sandwich. We ordered a large Mortadella thinking it’d be large enough to share.
The deli is bare bones and no frills: a fridge full of deli meat, a couple of slicers, a rack full of freshly baked bread and two butchers. Upon ordering, we’re given the choice of toppings—we went with the works, which is basically a bunch of really fresh vegetables, your choice of cheese and house made aoili. The bread is freshly baked and shaped like a wheel.
When we get our basket, we realize we’ve made a terrible mistake. There is no way we could possibly finish a single large sandwich. The basket was stacked with 4 large portions cut from a pizza-sized bread — each portion is the size of a regular-sized sandwich. Undeterred, however, we dug in.
We could taste all the fresh vegetables; the thinly sliced Mortadella was flavourful and the house made aoili is wonderfully creamy and light. Each sandwich comes with a brown paper bag filled with homemade potato chips which were awesome. They were crispy, earthy and not the least bit greasy. In the end, we weren’t able to finish the whole sandwich, so had the last portion bagged to go. The So.Cial Butchershop and Deli make some of the best sandwiches in town. At $12 and under for a sandwich, they’re all that — and a bag of chips too. Next time, we’ll hit up the restaurant.