A few years ago, supper clubs were for an exclusive few. Often held in secret, these table-laden societies of foodies were served meals from home, sometimes prepared by certain reputable chefs.
Today, these diners gather rather less auspiciously, as flash mobs, or perhaps in a New York subway car. They use technology like Grub with Us to self-select their dinner companions and groups like MeetUp to find table-mates who share the same palate.
At Seasonal Pantry, the dinner can range between $60 to $100 per plate, but more often than not a standard meal is $63 without wine, or $83 with wine pairings throughout the meal.
In DC, Chef Daniel O’Brien wants to make the experience even more democratic — by inviting you directly to his kitchen for dinner. O’Brien is the owner of Seasonal Pantry, the narrow storefront at 1314½ 9th Street NW, as well as the foundling SUNdeVICH, with his partner Ali Bagheri. Seasonal Pantry stocks such items as homemade pasta, cheeses and charcuterie, plus some prepared foods.
This small corner of the world has shelves lined with canned goods made throughout the week by O’Brien himself, a former sous-chef of Bibiana and Equinox. But O’Brien is used to tight spaces — he used to run his supper club out of his own kitchen and the kitchens of others.
On evenings when the foodies convene, the store boasts just enough space for a preparation table for O’Brien, two waiters and the long table that will allow ten guests, often strangers, to share conversation and a meal. It is like Outstanding in the Field meets HUSH supper club. According to health codes, this location is technically listed as a grocery store, and that will be O’Brien’s battle to fight as the crowds gather and the desire for space at the table grows.
O’Brien, who is overtly passionate about his supper-club idea, chooses the menu based on seasonal themes. For the week of September 15, guests will be served four courses including crab with avocado, garlic; sweetbreads with pepper, pineapple, sweet & sour sauce; lamb shank with couscous, apricot and mint; and a dessert that had not yet been announced. The dinner can range between $60 to $100 per plate, but more often than not a standard meal is $63 without wine, or $83 with wine pairings throughout the meal.
Seatings, which are offered Thursday through Saturday evening, often sell out in advance, so head to the Seasonal Pantry website to reserve your place at the table.