Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dinner Lab Comes To Boston - Greater Boston Area Foodies Can Help To Discover The Next Great Chef

Chef Mario Rodriquez
Served up Malay Cuisine
for the first
Boston Dinner Lab Meal
Great news for Boston area foodies.  There is a new resource for finding edgy and unique cuisine in this city.  Dinner Lab has come to town.  Based in New Orleans, the Dinner Lab phenomenon will be in 50 U.S. cities by the end of 2015.  The concept is fascinating, as described below:

"Dinner Lab is a social dining experiment that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners who are looking for something different from the conventional restaurant experience. Our events bring together a group of interesting strangers around a common table to share cuisine crafted by up-and-coming chefs from all over the country.

We don't dictate what our chefs cook, but instead give them a platform to tell a story through their menus — recipes that speak to their background or heritage, ingredients they are passionate about, or completely new dishes they've been experimenting with on days away from the restaurant. Our platform flips the traditional "dinner out" on its head by putting chefs at the center stage and giving our diners a voice in the process. Each time you attend an event, your feedback and suggestions are shared with the chef so that he or she can iterate and improve on their menu concept. With your input, aspiring chefs are given the tools they need to effectively prototype new dishes and tweak recipes to help them create the next great restaurant concept."

Dinner Lab is a membership-based dining experience.  The dates, featured chef and menu for the next meal are announced about a month in advance, but the location remains a mystery until 24 hours before the event.  In the case of Dinner Lab's first Boston meal, we were informed that Chef Mario Rodriguez would be serving a meal of Malay-inspired cuisine that he was first exposed to when he worked at Fatty Crab in Manhattan.  We learned by e-mail on Friday that the meal would be served at the Chevalier Center in Medford Square.

Chef Rodriquez chose the following menu:

  • Green Mango & Lychee Salad with friend peanuts and cilantro crema
  • Red Chili Mussels with Chinese sausage, green onion and roti
  • Tamarind Fish Stew with Cod Dumplings, Rice Noodles, pawn paste
  • Goat Rendang Clay Pot with popped rice, pickled pineapple
  • Coconut Panna Cotta with rice cak, ginger granita and cashew crumble
The courses were served with paired wine and beer offerings.

In the interest of full disclosure, although I love to eat, I do not consider myself a sophisticated foodie.  But I brought with me as a guest a friend who has a very sophisticated palate, and we were surrounded at our table by other guests who seem to live for finding the next best chef and restaurant. The instant feedback I heard from those surrounding me, and confirmed by my own simple palate and taste buds, was that Chef Mario had delivered a memorable meal.  I particularly enjoyed the Mango Salad, the Cod Dumplings and the Goat Rendang, but everything that was served offered a subtle symphony of flavors and textures.

Dinner Lab's next Boston offering will take place on March 20 and 21 with a meal served by Chef Geoff Lukas with a theme of "From Sea and Sand - Cuisine of the Arabian Peninsula."

To check out more details of Dinner Lab and to sign up for the next meal, see the link below.  Boston is only the latest city to offer this unique experience.  If you live in a major metropolitan area, chances are that Dinner Lab is already available to you, or will be soon.

Bon appetit!


Dinner Lab Website

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