I went to New York Bite Club last weekend. Bite Club is an underground eating club which serves gourmet dinners in private apartments around New York. It was excellent. I highly recommend it.
It was an amusing process to get into the dinner. I had to apply online at their site, and then exchanged a few emails with the organizer. Then to ensure my seriousness in attending the selected dinner, I had to drop off a cash deposit – it was fairly odd to walk into an office building, go into a random office, and drop off an envelope full of cash to a receptionist with a knowing nod. I was then sent an email with the location, with the warning “IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that silence is maintained while walking through this hallway. All noise can be heard by neighbors and that can bring a lot of attention to our operation, which isn’t going to be acceptable.”
Saturday night finally arrived. I got into the elevator with three other people. We realized we were all going to the same floor, and grinned sheepishly at each other. We walked into a typical New York apartment with the main room filled with tables and chairs, and a couple people working feverishly in the kitchen. We were assigned seating (the organizer had tried to balance the tables with appropriate dinner partners). I was at a table with a Wall Street trader and a manufacturer’s representative. We started talking, but our thoughts were on the food to come.
The night that I went was a 7-course winter tasting menu with a wine pairing (click on any picture for the Flickr set). It was _fantastic_. Comments on most of the courses:
- The amuse, which was a tiny cup of squash soup, with a foie gras oreo on the side. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was excellent. And cute.
- The cauliflower flan. The sweetness of the flan combined with the strong cauliflower flavor was a really interesting combination.
- The golden beet ravioli with pecorino and microgreens. Yum.
- Cod with rosemary grits in a blood orange reduction. I love blood oranges and rosemary, so I particularly liked this one.
- Venison with spaetzle with black currants. Our table agreed that this was the most tender venison that we had ever tasted.
- A nutella tart with a hazelnut milkshake. This was incredibly tasty, especially sipping the milkshake while eating the tart.
The thing that amazed me was that this was not a specialized kitchen – this was a regular New York kitchen. They brought in extra dishes, an extra set of shelves to hold them, and a table for prep, but other than that, there’s really no excuse for me not to be able to make such dishes myself. Well, except for lacking culinary skill.
Oh, that was the other amazing part – when we inquired as to which restaurant the chef was associated with, we found out that he just does this for fun. His day job has nothing to do with food. He just really enjoys cooking and trying new things, and started throwing bigger and bigger dinner parties until he decided to make it a regular event.
All in all, it was a lovely evening. Four and a half hours of good conversation, while being pampered with a wonderful seven course dinner, each paired with a well-chosen wine. It was pricy, but still far cheaper than a similar dinner would be at a haute cuisine restaurant. Definitely an experience I look forward to repeating as soon as I can raise the funds 🙂