I have been reading about underground restaurants for a couple years now. All the rage in NY and San Francisco, they are finally making their way to Los Angeles. Backgrounds and motivations of those who run them vary, but most fall in one of two camps: One is Restaurantor wannabes who are not quite ready for financial or other reasons to acquire a space and open a full blown restaurant. These individuals slowly build up a cult following so when they finally do open a place it comes with built-in loyal customers. The second type is typically run by foodies with an agenda; I often see vegan and other health-conscious themes. Entertainment is often a major component.
I found this one through a mysterious post on Chowhound. Intrigued, I was anxious to check it out. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The menu looked great, but I wasn’t sure if it was just going to be like going to someone’s house for dinner who is a really good cook.
I won’t give away all the details, but I will say I was not given the exact location until the day before. It took place in a lovely clubhouse near the water. BYOB.
Chilled Corn Soup:
Bodacious White Corn, Fennel Frond Creme, Chive Blossoms- Sounds like a simple corn soup, right? No. As soon as this was served, I knew I was going to be impressed with the evening. This was raw corn put thru a molecular gastronomy technique involving gelatin and a freezer. Two days of prep. The result was a clear corn-infused broth with whole corn kernels that had incredible clarity of flavor. Most impressive.
Tomato Tartlettes: Rocket & Torpedo Salad
Czech Yellow Wonder, Black Japanese Triefle and Cherokee Purple Heart Tomatoes, Wild Rocket Greens, Pickled Torpedo Onions, Indonesian Long Pepper Vinaigrette – A lovely simple but perfectly prepared dish that was summer in a plate. Most of the guests names the tart as their favorite dish of the night. I loved it, but I still prefer the corn
Butter Chicken: Texas Caviar & Smokey Carrot Puree
Free Range, Organic Chicken Breasts and Thighs, Fresh Made Salt Butter, Lemon Verbena; Black Eyed Peas, Italian Figaro Peppers, Speck, Sweet Onion; Peer Farms Carrots, Smoked Dulse, Russian Gold Fingerling Potatoes
– Impeccably seasoned light dish with plenty of bold flavor. The chicken thigh was succulent and delicious. The breast was moist, but slightly overcooked. My husband was a bit disappointed as he did not have any thigh in his dish. I did not realize this until I had almost finished mine, but he really enjoyed the two bites I was able to share.
Ginger Beer & Coconut Gelato Floats:
Hand Crafted Fizzy Ginger Beer (Non-Alcoholic), House-Made Coconut Cream Gelato, Toasted Coconut – Wow, never had anything like this before. Fizzy Ginger Beer and coconut gelato were a great yin and yang combination. Bright flavors and creaminess. Wonderfully refreshing.
We really enjoyed the evening. Rachel and Pace, our hosts, are incredibly talented ladies who have sophisticated knowledge and passion for great and healthful food. At $45 pp, it was well worth the price. Many of the veggies actually came from Rachel’s personal cooperative garden. Most of the guests were passionate foodies like ourselves, many of whom love to check out all the restaurants just like us. We look forward to attending another one of their events.
Check them out at: