In the city fill of restaurants, New Yorkers are spoilt with the top-notch food from famous chefs around the world. Some of the restaurants require a month long waiting list to get in, or need people who know people to get you a table, but that never stop New Yorker from getting their hands on the food they set their eyes on. Just in case some of these tables are not hard enough to get, New York has another diner party trend that’s been going on for a while – the secret dinner clubs.
I mean, who doesn’t love being in on a secret, right? Being part of the secret dinner clubs makes anyone and everyone (secretly) feels instantly superior, plus, finding out what the secrets are also gives a sense of adventure and makes the whole dinner experience even more exciting. I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to join a few of these secret clubs, Dinner Lab is one of them, and it happens to be the one that I have been participating the most recently.
Dinner Lab originated in New Orleans, and now has expanded to multiple cities including Chicago, Nashville, Miami, and of course New York. It is a social dining experiment that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners who are looking for something different from the conventional restaurant experience. The dinner events usually involves a large group of interesting strangers, mostly passionate foodies, around a common table to share cuisine crafted by up-and-coming chefs from all over the country, sometimes around the world.
Once you’ve become a member, you’d be receiving emails about the events and dinners with detailed information about the chefs, the theme or the story the chefs would like to create for the dinner, the time and place of the dinner, and most importantly the menus. Like most pop-up events, the location of the event is always TBA, that is the main secret part of the experiment, and personally, the most exciting part. The location will only be announced the day before the dinner, and for whatever reason it is, the unknown location always adds a little mystic to the whole dinner experience, you never know if you will be having dinner on a helipad, in a church, an abandoned factory, or an artist’s loft. The more unexpected it is the more unique fun you’ll have.
The email will also indicate the exact time the reservation/ ticket will be available, if you want to make sure you score a seat, you’d better set an alert on the phone to get the tickets, because they usually go faster than you think. Once you secured your seat for the event, just sit back and relax until the day of the dinner and be prepared to feast on an amazing meal. Unlike most restaurants, Dinner Lab gives the chefs full freedom to tell a story through their menus – recipes that reminds them of their childhood, food items that represent their heritage, or simply just ingredients they are passionate about – sometimes these could be the courses they have been preparing for the next big restaurant. The diners are invited to be part of the experiment with the chefs to find out the best dishes they create for their story!
I have participate a few of the Dinner Lab events so far- not only did I get to participate the decision of the menu items for some up and coming restaurant by rating all the dishes and giving direct feedback to the chef, which we don’t ever have the opportunity to do so in a real restaurant, I also get to meet all walks of New Yorkers who are just as passionate about food as me!
If you’re interested in participating these “experiments” with this “Lab”, get on the waiting list now! They have been extending the membership lately, you might just get lucky and get in on one of the New York secret dinner clubs!