"Oh mah God, y'all. There's goats. Like, real goats." The things you overhear during your meal with Dallas Supper Club will be a calculated step away from the ordinary.
Dallas Supper Club was created in 2015 by Sean Granfield and is a "membership based community of food lovers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex." They host monthly pop-up dinners and "experiential culinary events." Did you hear that sound? It was every 25-year-old Dallas food-lover popping an immediate boner. Or at least, that's what it felt like in the room on the night of the dinner. Tickets to this event sell out in minutes, and they appear to be hugely popular with the young professionals in town. Sure, there were a few people older than Lorde in there, but I'm pretty sure most of them were parents of the super thoughtful young professionals in the room. In fact, the guy sitting next to us was there because his son bought him the ticket for Christmas. So sweet. I could have pinched his son's little cheeks.
The dinner I attended was a 6-course meal from chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market with beer pairings from Peticolas. At $100 per person, this event sold out in about 15 minutes, Granfield said. The dinners seat 40-80 people, depending on the meal. And the cost of the dinner varies, too, based on what the chef would like to feature.
Diners met at TerraLux Studios and sat at a communal table with assigned seating. There's always a little roll-the-dice moment added when you sit at a communal table. Will you be seated next to someone who politely smells of yesterday's Axe body spray and garlic burps? Or will your stranger-tablemate be super hot and also super stingy with the sharing of the family plates when it comes to the main course? With Dallas Supper Club, some of that risk can be avoided if you fill in the "Who would you like to sit with?" portion of your dinner card ahead of time. "Can you imagine what this room would look like if we didn't assign seats?" asked Granfield, "It'd be a nightmare."
Lyford served up course after course of delicious. Diners clapped as he said the words "wagyu jerky," "kimchi" and "short rib pastrami." I'm seeing a trend of clapping for ingredients at pop-up dinners. It's not something I love or hate — it's just something that seems unique to these dinners that cracks me up. Like, in my own head at Lucia, when I see the words "foie gras stuffed prune," I for sure get all pumped and I high-five myself. But to publicly clap and woot for ingredients — it just makes me happy-confused. The first time I noticed this was at a Chef DAT dinner about five years ago. The words were "squid ink" and "absinthe" and the crowd practically threw their panties.
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Another trend I note at these types of pop-up dinners: Everyone's happy. Nobody is bitching about their meal, nobody is asking to speak with the chef because they feel like something is screwed up and every chef is smiling at the room, watching people eat. Partly, I think that's because when you're part of something that sells out so quickly, part of something that is so exclusive, you go into it wanting it to succeed. You start off really wanting to have a great time so you can tell others how awesome it truly was. That's a different feeling than some of us have when just walking into a restaurant, whether that's right or not.
But, that feeling also puts a strange pressure on the host of the evening to deliver on high expectations. If people are super-charged to have a great time and something goes wrong, it's a huge disappointment. Deliver, and the whole room is relieved and Instagrams the shit out of the night.
I knew the meal at Dallas Supper Club was fun and that the meal Robert Lyford put together for the evening was great, but I knew that Sean Granfield was delivering for his guests the moment Ali Morgan rolled in a cheese cart followed by her goats. Those two goats ran into the room and every phone in the house was suddenly in use. I saw a girl in a skintight dress and heels bite it trying to chase one of those poor suckers down for a selfie. Glorious.
If you'd like to try to get your hands on tickets to a Dallas Supper Club event, go here. And know you're fighting all the young professionals for a chance to cheer for turmeric.