Seeking An Alternative Dining Experience? Try Underground Eats (NYC)

Seeking An Alternative Dining Experience? Try Underground Eats (NYC)

There’s plenty of places to eat in New York City. On the island of Manhattan alone one could probably go out for lunch and dinner every day for a year and still not manage to pull up a chair at each establishment. This fact probably applies for the boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens as well.

There’s just so much to choose from.

Dairy-free chocolate mousse. An Intolerant's dream.

Dairy-free chocolate mousse. An Intolerant’s dream.

The thing is, when it comes to dining out I find selecting a place can become a laborious affair. If you live in NYC chances you either have haunts you like to frequent or you’re constantly on the look out for the next “great” thing. If you’re visiting NYC then you’re either working off a set of recommendations, you’re going to stick to the chains/brands you know and love best or you’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time on Yelp and NYmag.com looking for places you must try.

A nutty dairy-free risotto with brussels sprouts. My favourite dish of the night.

A nutty dairy-free risotto with brussels sprouts. My favourite dish of the night.

So this post is for you. Those of you who are tired of Yelp-ing, Zagat-ing and Time Out-ing your evenings away, or those of you who are just looking for something different. Novel. A little bit new.

Launched in fall 2011, Underground Eats is one of NYC’s next big (food) things. A platform created by Harris Damashek and Adam Sirois, UE is used to curate, package and sell dining experiences/events to selective New Yorkers – and food-minded visitors – who are looking for an exclusive, convivial and unique affair. What’s on offer are dining experience that are of Zagat quality, but without miles of yuppie-strapped hype and no “we can seat you, but it’s a 45 minute wait” utterances.

I mean, 45 mins? I don’t think so.

Gazing into the kitchen...

Gazing into the kitchen…

To access the dining experiences posted on Underground Eats, you have to sign up and create a profile and only then does the fun begin. Once “cleared” and granted access, one can peruse the 10 – 15 monthly events on offer and and sign up for one of the many mouth watering events that are focused on great quality food/drink and providing uncommon experiences.

And the good kind of course. The kind that will stick with you long after you’ve finished your last bite.

underground eats

There are all sorts of events on offer: including multiple-course dinners from up-and-coming chefs to cook-offs with well established phenoms, as well as wine tastings, cooking classes and bake-offs. The idea of Underground Eats is to get you outside of your comfort zone and sign up for a hands-on training or a full-on lunch or dinner where you’ll share your experience with 12 – 25 other people who share some of the same interests you do, well, at least when it comes to food. That is sure to be a safe bet.

Cashew "pate" with greens and caramelized onion. Delicious

Cashew “pate” with greens and caramelized onion. Delicious

The cost of events can range from $60 – $200 or more depending on the chef or company headlining the event and what is being offered. For my inaugural UE experience, I took part in a fantastic vegan dinner from an up-and-coming Californian chef a few weeks back. The five course spread took place in a fantastic loft in TriBeCa and it was certainly a dinner I’ll remember for many moons to come. With a creative menu on offer it was not only enjoyable in terms of the food, but it was a nice way to meet new people from various fields and backgrounds that I probably wouldn’t have encountered any other way…had it not been for our shared love of food.

It was my first Underground Eats experience, and I can assure you: it won’t be my last.