There’s an explosion of underground eateries making their no-so-secret mark in cities, basements, and lofts across the states.  Local chefs, often without a brick and mortar restaurant, but plenty of know-how in the kitchen, host people for a night of scrumptious dining in sometimes undisclosed locations.

For many of them, it’s a revert back to the dinner party, an intersection between food and conversation—something that seems to have been lost in translation in the age of fast dining and text message dinners.   And diners are eating it up. Literally.

Just a quick search and you’re sure to find something in your city.

In Los Angeles, like most things here, part of the appeal is the exclusivity, but unlike certain red carpet events, widely regarded Wolvesden, the brainchild of Chef Craig Thornton, manages to be exclusive without pretention. Thornton hosts 12 guests in his downtown loft and literally lets you into the kitchen with him.  He oversees the planning, the shopping, the prep, the cooking, and even the delivery, often bringing plates to the table himself and announcing each dish.  There’s never a menu, but everything is prepared with imagination.  And to top it off—he operates by donation.  All he asks is you to consider what you might pay for a ten course (yes up to ten mouth-watering courses) in a restaurant.   It’s BYOB and you’re asked to place your OB on a communal table.  The point of it: brings people together.  Really. If you get chosen—a feat in and of itself, you’re allowed to bring a plus 1 but the rest of the table…strangers.

They call it an exploration in social dynamics.  And it’s just what dinner needs.  Back to the basics with a twist.

Look for something special in your area and explore the underground scene.


-Arianna Schioldager

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