I've said this before: The Social List was, if anything, a food experiment for Retro Row, the tiny-but-seemingly-ever-evolving stretch of 4th Street that has become one of the city's most recognizable stretches of commercial space.
It wanted to be old-school-y, a place that wasn't necessarily an end destination but a stepping stone in the very urban ideal of old cities across the globe: Food- and drink-hop by foot as an adventure within one's neighborhood.
And if we're being honest, at first, The Social List failed to achieve that. But as with all things Luis Navarro and Brenda Rivera-associated—two of Long Beach's most recognized and busy restaurateurs—with just a few needed tweaks and listening sessions with patrons, The Social List has become one of the warmest neighborhood eateries on 4th Street.
It's newest menu—a pseudo-pan-Asian-slash-Long-Beach-inspired array of offerings using everything from wasabi and yuzu to sake and Kewpie mayo as guiding rails for flavors—is a reflection of that neighborhood-y-ness.
One of its stars? The Geisha Burger.
This chili-and-(no)-cheese burger sounds about as American as you can get—even without the cheese, which honestly is a great choice because it is sincerely not needed—with its crispy leaf of good ol' iceberg, a thick tomato slice, and sesame bun. But Rivera and her crew play with Japanese-style chili, where heat and tartness override savory and rich. The result is a steady ride of heat that is once again coated with Kewpie mayo, this time mixed with yuzu, and layered atop a Wagyu beef blend patty.
It's definitely a chili burger—and yes, you can request some cheddar but I honestly dissent such a request—but it not the chili burger you'll be finding at Douglas, Louis, or Golden Burger.
It's different and that's why it's worth every damn calorie. And hell, even if you aren't hungry, sit on the parklet and listen to the vibes and aura—because it feels like a space that has been here much longer than it has.For Brian Addison's full feature on The Social List, click here. Suggested items: the Geisha Burger; Thai Fighter cocktail; the Chinese salad