To enter the newly opened Social House Seven you walk over a glass koi pond, one indication of what awaits you at the Izakaya-style restaurant. The former space of Bossa Nova has been dramatically transformed with a long open bar facing the street, roomy leather booths on a raised platform—with two giant reclining buddhas overhead—and an open sushi bar.
“There is nothing else like it in Pittsburgh,” says Adam DeSimone, co-founder of AMPD Group which adds Social House Seven to their portfolio of places that includes Local Bar & Kitchen, Steel Cactus, Diesel and Skybar.
Izakaya restaurants in Japan are similar to gastropubs where drinks are central and the menu consists mostly of smaller plates served when ready and shared at the table. They’re known as places where people unwind after work and the goal is to give downtown workers and visitors a similar experience.
The 7,400-square-foot restaurant serves Japanese, Korean and Thai foods and features a showcase sushi and robata grill open-air cooking station.
At the private opening Thursday night, people raved about the sushi and various Asian food served on platters by a roaming wait staff. One specialty is robatayaki grill, a technique which sears meat at nearly 1,800 degrees.
“My team and I spent over a year creating this menu, traveling to restaurants around the nation to gather ideas, but more importantly, taking the decades of experience we have into the zealous project that is Social House Seven food and drink,” said Executive Chef Anthony Hruska. He worked with the renowned Norman Van Aken in south Florida places such as The City Club and Mar-a-Lago.
While the restaurant opens at 4 p.m. for dinner, it changes to a social club with a DJ and late-night menu starting at 11 p.m.
There is a private event space adjacent to the main restaurant with a bar with seating for 60 or up to 150 standing.
“We are a restaurant first,” says DeSimone, “Bossa Nova was known as a great events space for corporate functions, birthday parties and fundraisers. We built the event space knowing there was a void for these types of events.”
Starting today, Social House Seven is open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., with a late-night menu from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. The bar and lounge are open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Lunch service will start November 14.