Much has been said around the blogosphere about this underground supper club, and I really can’t add anything there, except more, much-deserved hype. Specifically, I’m just going to stick some captions and random musings, and will generally let the pictures speak for themselves.
Apparently, it’s pretty hard to get a seat at one of Craig Thornton’s dinners. But luck would have it, I got an invite to Wolvesden. On my first try! (It’s okay if you hate me, I’ll still be your friend). To be fair, the chef doesn’t decide who gets an invite. I believe it’s a pretty random process, unless you’ve been unfortunate to get on their blacklist.
Anyways, the event started at around 7-ish pm, when a guy greeted us (in total, 8 different couples) on the sidewalk and escorted us to this spacious loft filled with all sorts of cool shit. They also had a pretty good music playlist (i.e. XX – Intro) adding to the ambiance.
After putting down coats, purses, and wines, everyone wandered around. As expected, many people gravitated towards the kitchen to see what was up for the night.
Walking around, I found the 9-course menu posted on the refrigerator…
Table of fresh produce.
When we arrived, there were quite a number of things already prepared in the kitchen, including these delicious-looking Brussels sprouts (fifth course).
Getting ready to chow down, I chose to sit somewhere in the middle, next to the crocodile head, of course.
Overhead. antlers, jaw bone, foot.
Pretty soon after we cracked open a bunch of bottles of wine, and making introductions and pleasantries, the first course was served. Pork belly. Yea, we started with pork belly! In truth, everything was good, but this dish was my favorite of the night. It had all of the complexity I craved – sweet, savory, fatty, yum.
After the first course was cleared, wandered around some more, watching the chef prepare the rice-less risotto for the next dish.
Tilefish. Curious enough, no one at the table knew what this fish was about, so I wikipedia’d it. I really enjoyed the crunchy bits in the pea risotto.
Scallop. The included bacon onion relish pretty much made the dish. Yum.
Crab, fava beans, and cheddar fritters. Whenever someone mentions fava beans, I immediately get the image of Hannibal Lector describing how he ate some guy’s liver with fava beans and chianti.
About half way through the dinner, there was a bit of pause, which allowed the group to rest, converse, and be merry (i.e. drink some more).
Yep. Everyone came with a bottle or two, and they were all opened. I considered bringing some Laphroaig scotch, but for whatever reason, decided to be on my best behavior and brought Port wine instead. Still, after the third course or so, I managed to have 3 wine glasses, filled with different colored wines, in front of me…. My friend thought outside the box. She brought beer! Another couple brought cherry coke.
The view from near the entrance. On the right, out of view, is the chef’s sleeping area, bathroom, etc.
After some time, the vegetable dish came out. I’m still not sure which one of the items is carrot top. Besides the crazy number of ingredients, the taste was remarkably robust. A medley of deliciousness.
Rabbit meat balls underneath a slice of pasta. Yum. I wished the portion was bigger!
The final savory dish was also the most beautiful. Lamb. The presentation was pretty. Artistically violent. I guess it fits in with the whole wolf(ves) theme. I particularly liked the cocoa soil over the mashed potatoes – a very interesting and good combination.
Around this time, many people (girls) were getting stuffed. Still, they of course found their second stomach to consume the delightful desserts, including this creamy panna cotta.
We concluded with this great coffee pound cake. donut (!) ice cream. and a bunch of strawberry goodness.
At the end of our meal, we were each handed a red envelope and asked to donate whatever we felt the meal was worth.
As the party was winding down, but before leaving, got the opportunity to chat a bit with the chef. Cool guy!
Here he is with one of his friends.
If I get another invite, I’ll definitely be back. Cheers!
Tip: Did you know that it’s okay to park in a yellow, loading zone after 6pm, at least in LA? You won’t get a ticket as long as there are no other signs. Serious.