Today on the Bite Tonight: Punch Bowl Social
A couple weeks ago, I was lucky to have gotten an invitation to sample a new menu preview at Punch Bowl Social. This write up is going to be a little more detailed. Now, I want to warn you, you are about to experience a lot of drinks, eats, and sweets, so brace yourself. Buckle your seatbelt, keep your hands inside the car at all times and enjoy the ride!
PB Social opened shop just under a year ago in Downtown Detroit on Broadway St. PB Social also has locations scattered across the U.S including Portland, Austin, and Denver (to name a few). Their style is described as “Dirty Modern” which combines Industrial, Modern, and Victorian designs with the occasional deer head mounted on the wall. I would describe it as Detroit elegance. In one room you will find exposed brick and industrial ceilings, in another a warm and cozy fireplace offering sexy ambience. There’s also a little Ikea meets Alice in Wonderland feel with the furniture and design patterns. PB Social fits right into the Detroit scene. It’s floorplan really offers a little bit for everyone. No matter if you are looking to enjoy dinner, a night out with the girls, a night of fun and entertainment with bowling or karaoke, or a place to catch one of your favorite sports. They do a great job at appealing to all markets with still being a pretty awesome place to hang out. See how they ranked.
Atmosphere: 4.5 out of 5 bites
Price: 4 out of 5 bites
Quality/Taste: 4.5 out of 5 bites
Service: 5 out of 5 bites
Wow Factor: 4 out of 5 bites (menu and entertainment options)
I’ll start off with drinks. I want to mention that PB Social uses a lot of house made syrups, shrubs, and sours (etc) when ever possible. Which really shows the quality and care they put into their product.
Punch Bowls (Kind of a big deal here)
You Must Bring Us… A shrubbery (Love the Monty Python reference)! Skyy Moscato vodka, house-made watermelon shrub, cardamom syrup, lemon juice, red wine float. I did not know what a shrub was until this night, so thank you PB Social!
Side note: A Shrub is a drinking vinegar.
This drink was surprisingly refreshing and pleasing. I am not sure if I expected the shrub to be strong and acidic, but it was subtle, sweet, summery and I really liked it. Plus, vinegar has lots of health benefits! I definitely could not taste the booze which was a good and bad thing.
Bachelor’s Bowl: Old Forester bourbon, Pimm’s blackberry elderflower liqueur, Teakoe pineapple guava yerba mate tea, lemon juice. Warm, fruity, and floral. The bourbon paired really well with the tart lemon and sweet blackberry liqueur and pineapple guava yerba mate tea.
Yerba Mate Tea: Species of the holly family.
Paper Tiger: El Jimador tequila, house-made jalapeño sour, grapefruit juice, Teakoe white pear tea. Slightly tart, but the spiciness from the jalapeno balanced it out. Very light and refreshing. The jalapeno sour was not as spicy as I expected which was nice. I’ve had other spicy cocktails that did a number on my throat. This was not like that. It was just enough to let you know it was there, but not too pushy.
Bourbon Smash: Old Forester bourbon, muddled fresh blueberry and lemon, house-made blueberry syrup. Served in mason jar, which I love. Major kudos for taking the time to muddle fresh fruit and make homemade blueberry syrup. You can really taste the effort in each sip. The sweetness came through, but not in an artificial mixer kind of way. The blueberry went really well with the sweet, caramel note of the bourbon.
Lavender Sour: Knickerbocker barrel-aged gin, house-made lavender syrup, lemon juice. The lavender really came through and this drink tasted like how lavender pillow spray (ya know, the kind that helps you sleep) smells, but in a good way. It was light, relaxing, and floral. It was like something I have never tasted and I liked that.
Now to the eats
Spicy Mango Jalapeño Quesadilla: Mango, jalapeño, cilantro, queso oaxaca, cotija cheese, leeks. Very colorful presentation! These quesadillas were delicious. A little spicy, but the mango really added a nice tropical sweetness. The creamy coolness from the queso Oaxaca (similar to Monterey Jack) and cojita cheeses also tamed the fresh jalapeno.
Deviled Eggs: Chicken eggs, bacon jam, tartar sauce, mustard, baby arugula. I love deviled eggs so when I see them on a menu I get really excited. These weren’t as good as mine, but they were pretty tasty. The bacon jam was a nice touch, but reminded me a little of bacon bits.
Spicy Candied Nuts: Quinoa, pumpkin seeds, mixed nuts, honey, sea salt. Really nice bar snack. I really like the different blend of nuts and grains. Healthy, light, but still substantial enough to provide some protein.
Cauliflower Nachos: Roasted cauliflower, corn tortilla chips, jalapeño crema, queso fondito, queso cotija, cilantro, serrano, crème fraiche. It is unbelievable how satisfying cauliflower on nachos can be. I didn’t even miss the meat. The nachos were piled high with deliciously, creamy cheese and a dollop of jalapeno crema which was basically a spicy cheeseball. There was so much cheese, but it went really well with the pickled red onion and roasted cauliflower. Yum!
The Cubano: Tender belly ham, cocoa dusted pork, pickles, mustard cream, gruyère cheese, ciabatta, house cut fries. The ciabatta was buttery, toasty, and the gruyere cheese acted as a melty glue to hold everything together. The ham and pork were tender and salty, but I didn’t really taste the cocoa. The pickles presented a crunch, but I wish there was more to cut through the heavy pork. Now, the fries! The fries were perfectly cooked, firm on the outside, but soft on the inside. They were lightly seasoned, but the seasoning still played a significant role in the flavor profile. Delicious!
Chicken & Waffles: Panko breaded chicken breast, malted waffle, strawberries, chipotle pecan maple syrup, candied walnuts. I thought the cauliflower nachos were my favorite until this beauty came out. The chicken was crispy on the outside and super moist on the inside which we all know is hard to accomplish with boneless chicken. The waffle was warm and soft. I really liked that this waffle wasn’t saturated in syrup, but there was just enough of the spicy, smoky, sweet chipotle maple syrup to compliment the chicken and waffles. The candied walnuts added a nice crunch and the sweet strawberries brought the whole thing together. I honestly have never really been interested in chicken and waffles, but after trying this dish, it opened my eyes. This was a sophisticated, all grown up kind of chicken and waffles.
But wait, there’s more!
Desserts: All made in house and decadent! By the time dessert came around, I barely had room. Good thing I will never turn down a sweet.
Pumpkin Cheesecake: Spiced and creamy.
Dark Chocolate Mousse with a piece of brownie and biscotti: Light and smooth. Love the bitter sweetness of dark chocolate.
Salted Caramel Butter Cake: Rich, sweet, with a hint of salt. The caramel corn was a nice touch.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake: My favorite! I felt as though I was blanketed with rich, heavy chocolate and peanut butter with every bite.
Key Lime Pie: Light and airy with the perfect key lime flavor. The crust was flaky and buttery.
(From left to right)
Punch Bowl Social has really transformed into a great place to dine, grab a drink, celebrate that special occasion, or hold your next event. PB Social’s menu includes some really creative ingredients and culinary methods. Where else can you go to indulge in Monkey Bread French Toast and an Almond Joy milkshake? Who else is serving up poached pear and goat cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich?
PB Social also offers brunch and fresh juice and breakfast drinks. And they get their ingredients from local suppliers which I love. The service throughout the whole night was royalty. My group and I were given a tour of the whole place before the menu sampling started. Then, we were greeted by the bar manager who took the time to explain each drink to us in detail. After that, the chef came out to introduce each menu item and provide a description of every taste. Lastly, we finished off the night with a couple games of bowling. It was an awesome experience and a big thanks goes out to the team at PB Social who were nothing sort of amazing. They were so nice, accommodating, knowledgeable, and professional. I can’t wait to return and try something else on the menu and perhaps I’ll muster up enough courage to participate in karaoke. Stop in and don’t forget to get your parking validated for the Z lot!
Thank you to Janet, Taylor, Anna, David, Travis, and Brianna for sharing this experience with me.