Weekend Date: Secret Supper Club

Date Category: Depends
Neighborhood:  Who Knows?
Expect to Spend: Around $150 for dinner, drinks are BYOB

I have a confession to make: A.P. and I are total foodies.  In case you haven't already figured it out, we love to go out and eat, and we've tackled many of the best restaurants in town: Moto, The Publican, Longman & Eagle, Owen & Engine, Table 52, Les Nomades, MK, EPIC, and oh so many more.  We're not snobs about food.  We like casual places and neighborhood places just as much as we do fancy joints, but we love interesting, well-prepared food.

So it is no surprise that years ago, when I first heard about the underground supper club, Clandestino, I immediately put myself on the list.  What followed was four years of me getting the emails about upcoming dinners, forwarding them to A.P. begging to go, and him never responding or forgetting or not seeming terribly into the idea.  Finally, for whatever reason, last week he bit.  I was pleasantly surprised to get a response saying he'd made reservations for us for their upcoming dinner event, WTF (Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot...not the other commonly used texting colloquialism). Needless to say, I was SUPER psyched.
Started in 2007, Clandestino began as an underground supper club.  It still technically is, but if you check their website, you quickly realize the word has gotten out.  Founded by Chef Efrain Cuevas, Clandestino is an experiment in social eating.  You don't know where you'll be eating or who you'll be eating with, but you know you'll eat well.  The locations of the dinners change each time and they are always BYOB.  The menu is constantly changing, but one thing is for sure: everyone you are dining with loves food.

Here's how Clandestino works.  You sign up for the dinner, putting down a deposit on the dinner.  Then, 24 hours before said dinner, you receive an email telling you where to go.  When you arrive, you are greeted at the door by a Clandestino employee.  You are given an envelope for the remaining portion of your dinner bill and directions to your secret dinner spot.  When you arrive, you really have no idea what to expect, but you feel like you're in good hands.   Another employee greets you at the door and takes your coat.  They make room for you at a table, which is beautifully set with your menu and the necessary accoutrements.  Then, it begins.  It's BYOB, but you never feel that way.  The servers offer to chill your wine/beer if need be, they get you glasses, and uncork anything that needs uncorking.  And then the fun begins!  

Our dinner featured the immense talents of not only Chef Cuevas, but also Chef Ben Roche of Moto and Chef Thomas Bowman of iNG, Moto, and Otom.  The dinner was served in reverse.  We started with coffee and ended with bread and butter, but each was a delightful play on the course.  In other words, we didn't really start with coffee and we didn't really end with bread and butter.  The coffee was really a take on biscuits and gravy, the dessert was savory (eggplant baklava), and so on and so forth.  There were also a couple of drink pairings, which was fun on top of the the beer we brought (Clandestino also includes a list of suggested pairings for the BYOB in their email).  

Our location was somebody's apartment though I'm still not entirely sure whose. It was amazing to fit 40 people into the open loft! The setting was pretty nice though and we had a great view, right across from the kitchen and prep area, so we got to see the chefs in action!
The other nice part was meeting new people.  We were lucky enough to sit next to a funny, interesting couple from Oak Park.  They were ridiculously like us, so it made for an easy, pleasant evening.  We even twitter-friended each other at the end of the night.  A.P. also struck up a conversation with the man sitting across from him.  So, not only do you get great food and great service, but you also get to meet interesting people from around town.

I highly encourage anyone who wants a unique experience OR loves food to check out Clandestino.  It makes for a very interesting date night!  Even A.P., who was a bit on the fence, said he'd go back.  If that isn't an endorsement worth having, I don't know what is.  It's not something you'd do every weekend, but it's definitely worth checking out at least once...maybe twice.    : )

Here are some more pictures from our dinner!  Enjoy!

(Photos by me!)

1 comment:

  1. So jealous this looks amazing!!! I like how it is all hush hush and secret. It reminds me of the spy bar you went to in Milwaukie.


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