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Pop-up private dinners are among the hottest trends on the culinary scene. Adventurous foodies gather in all kinds of spaces to experience meals prepared by talented chefs on the rise in the food world. Part of the fun is that often diners don’t know where the meals take place until a day before they unfold their napkins. The evenings are convivial, casual, full of surprises, and definitely memorable.
Dinner Lab has brought its take on the pop-up meal to Washington, generating lots of buzz—and plenty of hungry followers—along the way. Locations such as a hall on the grounds of a monastery in Brookland and H Street’s Atlas Performing Arts Center have been transformed into the settings for one-of-a-kind dinner parties where chefs are the stars and inventive meals unfold at simply set communal tables. Now there’s a tasty new ingredient in the mix: a Smithsonian location and theme.
Become one of the 100 guests at a Dinner Lab evening at the Smithsonian and you’ll receive a menu reflecting the dinner’s culinary theme and information about your chef two weeks prior to the date.
MENU AND CHEF INFORMATION:
Small Bite: O is for Overprint Octopus - grilled octopus, shaved squash, coconut vinegar & tamarind, pumpkin seed crumble
First Course: S is for Se-Tenant Salad - husk cherry & tomato, avocado chamoy purée, lime requesón, shaved hazelnuts
Second Course: P is for Persian Rugs & Pork Chops - seared pork chop, grilled spring onion, charred pineapple purée, pork cracklin'
Third Course: T is for Tropical Tart - apple tart, walnut & caramel, cinnamon & almond ice cream
About the Chef: While studying criminal justice in college, Chef Brandon Byrd paid his bills waiting tables and bartending. During this time, he found that he was more concerned with what was going on in the kitchen. He moved to NYC to attend the French Culinary Institute. While in New York, he worked for David Chang at Momofuku Noodle Bar, with Roberta’s at Best Pizza, and as a sous chef at Aliseo. After moving to Austin, Brandon started cooking with Chef Todd Duplechan at Lenior. He then accepted a job with Dinner Lab and has loved every minute of it.
The day before the event, the location is announced. Meeting the chef, who talks about the menu, and a Smithsonian specialist, who offers insights on the location, adds to the experience.
For this evening at the Smithsonian, you can be sure that the “secret” setting will be beautiful and intriguing—and a place where you’d definitely not expect to be dining. But you can expect to strike up some great conversations with fellow diners at this informal and friendly evening that spotlights some seriously amazing food.
Price includes a cocktail, three-course dinner, and wine; each event limited to 100 guests; no tickets sold at the door.
Dinner Lab evenings take place in cities across the country. This video from the New Yorker follows how a dinner party was created from scratch at Manhattan’s Pier 17.
The National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
Metro: Union Station (Mass. Ave exit)