“It’s an underground supper club,” Dan explained last week.
I wasn’t sure what he meant by underground, but I was certainly game for a free five course meal. So when the cab pulled over at a particularly dark corner in South Williamsburg, the small red bulb glowing as a singular indication, I was naturally suspicious. The bar was not just empty, it looked like it has been abandoned.
Inside, we flashed a photo to the woman running the dinner and were escorted into a small, warm-wooded room. The chef sat gingerly behind the bar, gently cracking quail eggs over lamb tartar.
“Are you ready for five courses of lamb?” Dan asked.
I nodded and poured a tall glass of wine.
By 8:30, all twenty guests had arrived, and we sat awkwardly at two tables. At first conversation was quiet. So-and-so is the owner of such-and-such bar, and so-and-so is writing a book. The tartar tasted bright and fresh, and the lamb offal over noodles was beginning to weaken my knees. Red wine flowed generously, and suddenly forks full of roasted lamb leg and sausage were waving around, laughter bouncing off the cedar walls and distracting the musician in the corner. Lamb bacon was seized upon; the apple truffle vinaigrette wiped swiftly off the bottom of the dish by fingers.
After dinner, we stayed and drank. So-and-so from such-and-such was so drunk he bought four or five bottles for the eight of us left at our table. We yelled to be heard over the laughter, and the chef sat quietly until he, too, was poured a giant glass of wine. We watched a video of the lamb being butchered. We ordered more bottles of wine, and spilled some on the floor, the tablecloth, our hands.
We smoked outside. “That’s not a cigarette,” laughed Dan, who was swaying in the crunch of snow. Our hands smelled like lamb, our lips were purple, and our hearts had grown hot from the wine.
As we crossed the bridge back to Manhattan, Dan growled happily about the lamb in the front seat, but asked to be let out early. He needed a slice of pizza, and I was in no state to argue.