Whee! Can you see me riding the Underground Dinner wave? “cause I’m riding the wave! Now I’ve gone to my second underground dinner convened by the Dan and Jeanne at Hearsay Supper Club. I got introduced to the toothsome twosome during the last undercover supper and when we got an invite to their Duck, Duck, Goose dinner, we jumped at the chance.
As I said at Hearsay, I’m thinking that underground dinners are keg parties for grown ups. Why – because you get to meet people you normally wouldn’t and have conversation. The supper clubs I’ve been to are really a testament to how different the Bay Area and Washington, DC are. The people around the table last Saturday included – a fashion designer, a restaurateur, a clinical psychologist, a computer programmer, and a sommelier. In DC, they would be – some who works for a member of Congress, someone who works for a nonprofit, someone who works for a federal agency – and four out of the five would have law degrees.
Underground dinners are these weird hybrids between a dinner party and a restaurant experience but when they work (as in the times I’ve gone), they are great experiences. I think both Dan and Jeanne were a bit hesitant at first but once the wine started flowing and the conversation took off they evening was wonderful.
Here’s the menu:
0. Goose leg confit a l’orange and fried duck tongues
Beer cocktail: Saison Dupont, Knob Creek bourbon, spiced kumquat syrup, orange
Duck tongues were served separately as kind of a french fry. It was kind of like eating a VEEERY small chicken wing. It has a nice fatty flavor. I thought the flavor of the gelee was good, the sweet/bitter savory was nice but the texture was a bit too soft and that made eating it with a skewer challenging.
1. Duck fat fries with spicy banana ketchup, caper parsley relish, and curry aioli
2001 Michel Dervin, Cuchery, Champagne, France
I thought the fries had good flavor but were a little greasy. The dips were top notch in my opinion. I loved the contrast of flavors and textures.
2. Goose pho
2008 Clos Habert, Francois Chidaine, Montluis Sur Louire, France
The flavor of the broth was a bit too subtle. I like my pho more full on. But OH MY GOD. The wine. The wine was just so fresh and fruit and crisp. Like the person sitting next to me, I am now a devoted fan of Loire Valley whites.
3. Duck leg confit slider on a housemade bun, pear mostarda, purple slaw with pomegranate
Curieux, Allagash Brewing, Portland, Maine
The slider was definitely a highlight of the meal. The meat was full of flavor and the mostarda was a perfect condiment being sweet/sour. The roll was halfway between a biscuit and a roll. I would have spent some money and had brioche rolls to have a softer texture. Finally, the slaw was a welcome accompaniment to to the heavier flavors of this course.
4. Duck / duck / goose (duck liver mousse, housemade duck sausage, and goose breast with a sweet potato tater tot, bourbon caramel, honey poached apple, and cider gastrique)
2007 Domaine de L’Oratoire St Martin, Côtes du Rhône, France
The main course was a huge win. As I think back though, the dish needed something sharp and acidic. Most flavors were savory. If I were to do the apple, I would have done julienned celery root and apple salad with a sherry vinaigrette. But the flavors of the dishes were right there. And another huge winner on the wine!
5. Blood orange and ginger trifle
NV Caveau du Mont July Bugey Cerdon Rosé, Jura, France
I thought the dessert was a success. It was flavorful and light at the same time.