Dinner Lab: Membership has its privileges
Most of humanity's greatest moments were birthed whilst breaking bread with strangers. There hasn’t been a more effective way to spread ideas than sharing a meal amongst fellow minds while exchanging conversation--of course, goes without saying, aided by the spirits . Unfortunately, in this technology driven age we currently live in, this tradition is slowly dying out from our culture and everyday routines. Which is why it is of no surprise that supper clubs have taken off and become popular, particularly, in fast growing foodie scenes. Miami is no stranger to this concept.
In fact, one can boldly assert that is was thanks to the efforts of clubs like Cobaya--led by food bloggers Chowfather and Frodnesor--and Saffron Supper Club, hosted by Miami.com’s food expert Sara Liss that these underground dinner clubs piqued the interest of local diners which in turn raised the stakes for better dining, and catapulted us into our new gastronomic realm.
But it seems that the grassroots hyperlocal clubs seem to garner more trust from attendees than the newer bigger national players that are taking notice in our fast-growing scene, one of them being New Orleans born Dinner Lab.
Boasting themselves as the world’s largest pop-up supper club, Dinner Lab introduced its concept early in January of last year. They didn’t reinvent the wheel; what they provide is what they refer to as “the dining experience liberated”, creating an ever-changing, no-frills platform where chefs and sous test out concepts they aren't able to showcase in their respective restaurants. These platforms come in the shape of warehouses, art galleries, patios, or whatever space suits the dinner’s theme. Actual venue location is kept secret until just a day or so before actual dinner event.
As far as control variables go (service and locations) the execution is consistent. But like any experiment, the results vary, and the dinner experiences seemed to hit or miss the mark. These are results one anticipates, specially considering the young talent they hail from all over the nation that is used to tending to different palates. This would be an acceptable gamble not taking into account that the original membership (recently renamed Gold) expected patrons to pay $150 for an annual membership that grants you--plus a guest--access to all local and national events, not including each event’s fee (usually ranging from $60-$80).
Now we all know Miamians love our exclusivity and VIP, but we are also notoriously non-committal, and once the hype died down, it was hard to keep our attention. One should also consider the factor that most of the local supper clubs host local celebrity chefs on their dinners, which is easier to trust since their product fare and name are already known. But they’re not giving up on us so easily, and we at MIAbites are willing to give it a chance, for as much as we love all the new openings happening in our city, having access to cuisines from chefs all around the nation provides a bit of a piquant edge to our sometimes oversaturated selection and only adds respect for the unique dining experience we have come to enjoy in Miami.
For the first time, Dinner Lab has released a Silver membership available to 500 of our MIAbites readers, FREE to join. The membership will allow anyone to purchase tickets to their events, and this new season promises to have them rolling out almost weekly. For the month of June, they have a different event planned for each week. To sign up for this free membership use this link https://dinnerlab.com/signup/MIAbites
For the next upcoming event on Thursday June 18th ( currently closed out ), Dinner Lab will be hosting chef Jammir Gray (previously from Scala’s Bistro, Salt House, One Market), and currently sous chef at Chicago's renowned Sable American eatery by Top Chef-testant Heather Terhune.
The next scheduled event is on Saturday June 27th at 7:30 pm and priced at $65 and features the cooking of Chef Chris Bailey from Oahu, Hawaii. His culinary resume includes Clyde Common and DinDin Supper Club. The five course menu blends the summer beach attitude of Hawaii and Miami with his South Pacific heritage and includes Sopa de Calabraza, with pumpkin seed brittle, pepper oil, shiso and whipped chevre, Scallop Crudo with satsuma puree, Chilled Broccolini with crispy garlic, Grilled Hanger Steak and a dessert of Sour Orange Curd with Thai long pepper shortbread.
So what are you waiting for? Make sure you get your membership and check this out!