Supper clubs, dinner societies and roving pop-ups and picnics have been a growing part of South Florida’s culinary scene, and a new concept joined the mix this week. Secret Supper, presented by SouthFlorida.com and the Sun Sentinel, held its first event at Avant in Delray Beach, a month-old global-tapas restaurant that features paintings and sculptures from local artists.
Participants did not know where the dinner would be held until the day of the event. When they arrived at Avant, they enjoyed a spicy tequila cocktail followed by a four-course meal with wine pairings and convivial conversation.
Secret Supper will rotate among new and established restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach counties and organizers hope to stage the event four times a year. A date for the next Secret Supper in winter 2018 will be announced soon. The concept started in Chicago and branched to Baltimore.
“We were thrilled to host the first one in South Florida,” says Steve D’Apuzzo of Society 8 Hospitality Group, which owns Avant.
A crowd as diverse as South Florida turned out for the inaugural event, with diners partaking in kale salad with spicy peanut dressing, Korean barbecued short rib with shiitake mushroom risotto, charred octopus with cauliflower puree and shallot fennel, coffee-rubbed hanger steak, and warm chocolate-coconut bread pudding.
I attended the event as a guest of my company and was impressed. (Disclosure: I did not play a role in selecting the venue or organizing the dinner.) A group of former neighbors in Coral Springs, who now live scattered in places such as Jupiter and Boynton Beach, used the dinner as an opportunity for a reunion.
Supper clubs in private homes, rotating dinners among chefs and foodies, and themed picnics such as Diner en Blanc Miami have been going on for years. More options for adventurous eaters keep sprouting.
Among them is TRP Taste, a popup dining concept in Fort Lauderdale from the Restaurant People. The location is fixed, an intimate, 24-seat dining room and kitchen on the ground floor of 1 W. Las Olas Blvd., but chefs, menus and cuisine will rotate. Tim Petrillo of the Restaurant People envisions bringing in chefs from around the state and country for brief stints to showcase their talents.
Also on tap is the annual series of alfresco food events from November through April at Swank Farms in Loxahatchee. The local specialty grower, which provides produce to many of South Florida’s top restaurants, will host eight Swank Table-themed communal dinners, six Master Chef dinners (featuring guest chefs such as Michael Schwartz and Mark Militello) and four Sunday brunches.