Our First Underground (Not “Pop Up”) Restaurant

The last wine glass is clean and on the shelf.  Now I can write. I find that I need to have the dishes done before I can sit down and write.  Alas, a messy desk doesn’t bother me in the least.

I asked a colleague of mine, Hiroki Miyano to take pictures of the event and taste the food as well.  Hiroki and I have worked for nearly fifteen years.  One of our favorite trips was to the south of France looking for the Holy Grail, but I digress

Nahid and I were a bit nervous, with little reason to be so.  We know how to throw parties, still we never asked our friends to be guinea pigs for a business venture.

The group of people we asked to attend had never been to an underground event, few knew they existed.  In fact, Nahid’s best friend Elise asked what she should bring to the “pot luck” dinner.  Also this was not a pure underground restaurant experience because everyone had been to our place.

My fig panic was eliminated by a trip to Gelson’s in Silverlake.  There in the produce aisle were black mission figs.  Ahhh.  My signature creation could be eaten the way it was intended to be.Nahid was in charge of the welcome cocktail.  Barbrix is our neighborhood go to restaurant.  We were there last week and Brian the bartender had created a special cocktail with Prosecco and rhubarb simple syrup.  We changed the Prosecco to Cava but kept the rhubarb.
After the last drop of Cava was drained it was time for the meal to begin.

Nahid and I explained the rules of an Underground Restaurant.

  1. Hold onto your silverware.
  2. Because we want to create the actual experience of an underground restaurant, please sit next to a stranger.
  3. Share—conversation, wine and whatever else.
  4. Enjoy!

Then we went into the kitchen.  First up Blue Cheese Tart.

Next we moved onto the salad—pea sprouts, blood oranges, tomatoes with lemon olive oil.

One of Nahid’s big fears was spilling something on someone.  But she looks like a pro to me.

I knew the timing of the next course, Scallops, would be a challenge.  The plates had quite a few elements and I wanted the dish to arrive at the table hot.  I love this dish.  So while the scallops seared on the stove…

The red pepper puree went on the plate.

And we trotted it out to our guests.  Our guests seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves and the food.  My heart broke out into the happy dance.  But we still had two more courses to go.  Back to work.

I have worked in many restaurants, have cooked many pasta dishes, yet when it comes to fresh pasta for a crowd I’m a virgin.  My thought was to roll out the pasta and put it on half sheet pans dusted with flour and then continue layering the noodles on aluminum foil.  Whatever you do, DON’T use this method.  The pasta gets wet and sticky.  So while our guests were enjoying their scallops I gave Nahid my “deer in headlights” look.

Fortunately, we were able to unglue most of the pasta from the sticky foil and plopped them in the boiling water.

Everything turned out fine.

At this point Nahid and I had a glass of wine.  The hard part was over.  Dessert was basically two scoops and a drizzle of olive oil.  We began to smile.

So as the dishes made their way to the kitchen.  The final dish was plated—chocolate mousse, coffee ice cream with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

After we gave our guests enough time to finish the last plate.  We broke from our roles as “Two Broads Abroad” and went out to the table as Judy and Nahid.

We asked all to fill out their questionnaires, which were discretely placed under their napkin.  To encourage the ordeal we brought out the rest of the ice cream and chocolate mousse.

After all the guests left Nahid and I read the questionnaires.  The crowd loved it!!!  And so did we.

This entry was posted in Appetizers, Entrees, Events, Underground Restaurant, Underground Supper Club and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Our First Underground (Not “Pop Up”) Restaurant

  1. Louise says:

    woot woot – i’m so happy for you, everything looks awesome! how fun…

  2. Alex Rabrenovich says:

    The dinner was fantastic. I was a little unsure of the “sit next to a stranger” thing, but after a glass of wine and the delicious first course, I found that the group began to bond and boundaries slipped away. Everything was delicious…EVERYTHING! The standouts to me were the blue cheese tart (the perfect dish to whet one’s appetite), the scallop (perfectly prepared and declicious with the red pepper “smear” and rapini), and the pasta! Where do I even begin with the pasta??? That dish to me was like crack to an addict!!!! Just the perfect balance of savory and sour…the lemon made it so fresh and was a wonderful complement to the earthiness of the mushrooms and chanterelles. I want more!!!!!!! The dessert was a great way to end the dinner. It was just the right amount for those of us who are now middle-aged and trying to stay in shape, but can’t say no. The chocolate mousse was everything one would want it to be – rich, chocolatey, fluffy – and the coffee ice cream!!! I don’t know what it was about the combination of the coffee flavor and sea salt, but once I tasted it, I was hooked! The olive oil gave both an added layer of flavor that suprisingly worked.

    I noticed that I used the word “perfect” quite a bit here. I guess that’s because the dinner was just that. And I developed two addictions along the way (I’ll be clawing at your door for more pasta and coffee ice cream with sea salt soon)…thanks for that! Once I get out of rehab, I will look forward to more of Two Broads Abroad! Great job, you two. Congratulations on a successful night.

  3. bomogbjerke says:

    when is the lemon tart recipe being posted – not to mention the bearnaise – I can’t wait to taste this blog 🙂

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