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5.8
CHI

MAD Social

Perfect For: Action at the Bar
5.8
CHI

MAD Social

Perfect For: Action at the Bar
PHOTOS: Facebook/Mad Social

Halloween is fun. You get to dress up and pretend you’re someone you’re not. Want to be Babe Ruth or Buzz Aldrin? Go for it. Want to be a sexy nurse? You can be that too. But other than that one day (or week, if you're in college) of the year, you can't walk down the street in a NASA space suit or wear a bustier and stethoscope to work. The problem with Mad Social is it hasn't figured that out.

Mad Social is trying to be something different than the typical bar or pub. Instead, it wants you to think it's an exciting restaurant that serves an interesting menu full of globally-inspired food. But that’s some bullsh*t. Mad Social is basically a clubby gastro pub with inconsistent food, and it would be better off if it stopped pretending it was anything other than that.

Dance music plays loudly the entire time, which is what gives it a club-like undertone, so there's definitely a lot of action going on. But they also want you to think this is a real restaurant, and, in the process of trying to be kind of a fun bar and kind of a restaurant, Mad Social ends up being good at neither. Add in the fact the food isn't great, and we struggle to find any reason to be here.

The menu reads like someone who is trying to sound smart and worldly but got a little carried away. There’s everything from crispy brussels sprouts with a yuzu soy vinaigrette, elote fritters, poutine, tuna carpaccio, duck confit baos, chicken & waffles, ropia vieja, and a charcuterie section because why not. Half of it is good, half of it is bad, and none of it is a convincing enough reason to eat here.

If they took the same environment, added 100 TV's to the mix, and embraced being a somewhat out of the ordinary sports bar, then the place would at least serve a purpose we could get behind. But in its current form, Mad Social is as useful as a pop-up Halloween shop on November 3rd.

Food Rundown

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Pretty good, but it's clear that Mad Social has no idea they're 10 years late to the crispy brussels sprouts game.

Shishito Peppers

Roasted shishito peppers with shaved grana cheese and lemon. Basic, but fine.

Havarti Mac & Cheese

An aggressive havarti mac & cheese with sweet corn, wild mushrooms, crispy brussels sprouts, and a crumb crust. More veggies than you're used to in mac & cheese, but we actually like it.

Elote Fritters

A must-order if you find yourself here. Roasted corn, cheese, and sun-dried tomato all fried together. These are great.

Togarashi Spiced Chicken Lollpops

Solid chicken wings, with a blue cheese aioli.

Duck Confit Bao Buns

Duck confit baos that come three to an order. They play.

Chicken & Waffles

A churro waffle with chicken breast and crispy pork belly. Sounds amazing, right? The one time we ate this it was legitimately bad. The pork belly was so dry it tasted like it had been reheated in the microwave, the waffle was horribly overcooked and tasted burnt, and the chicken breast was lunch-meat worthy. Nope.

Tuna Crudo

Terrible tuna.

BBQ Pork Empanadas

These are solid. Pulled pork empanadas with gouda, slaw, and onion strings. We'd eat them again.

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja is a common Cuban dish that consists of stewed beef, usually served with rice and beans. This version isn't so much a regular ropa vieja as it is five small, circular plantain pieces individually topped with a bit of beef. Not bad, but not exactly ropa vieja.

Pillows

Braised beef stuffed ravioli with house meat sauce and cheese. It tastes like homemade Chef Boyardee, which is good we guess?

Brunch

Equally as hit and miss as dinner. It could work if you're nearby, but we wouldn't go out of our way.

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