“Bed- Stuy Supper Club”, Brooklyn Mast

In the past few years, Brooklyn has been saturated with new restaurants.  Many of these smaller, more intimate places, along with new gourmet shops and growing farmers’ markets, have rightly made Brooklyn a highlight of New York dining options.  But even with a more relaxed atmosphere and more creative cooking, the hardest place to get a table on a Saturday night is not listed in Time Out New York or New York Magazine.  With so many creative people rediscovering the pleasures of homemade cooking, underground supper clubs have been growing in popularity for cooks and guests alike.

One supper club gaining attention recently is run by two friends, Sabra Saperstein and Chitra Agrawal.  Running a semi- regular operation out of Sabra’s spacious Bed- Stuy apartment, getting one of the 15 open seats at the table for each meal has inspired some friendly competition.  Having been invited to their most recent event was actually quite a treat.  The experience had many similarities to a traditional restaurant meal: there is a reasonable price for a leisurely pre- fixe meal ($20), communal tables, and it’s BYOB: every guest brings a bottle of wine to share with other guests at their table.  However, the evening felt a little cozier upon learning that the cooks’ other friends would be serving as informal waitstaff for the night, and some other musician friends would perform between courses. In particular, Asha’s singing was the standout entertainment for the evening.

Lately, the pair have been focusing on merging the flavors of traditional Mexican and Indian cooking.  The completely vegetarian four course meal was fresh and exciting.  Many of the recipes for these dishes have been featured on Chitra’s informative cooking blog, abcdsofcookings.blogspot.com, which focuses on vegetarian Indian cooking.  The site makes even the most exotic Indian dish accessible and easy to follow at home, so it’s no surprise that her supper club offerings were both familiar and adventurous.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices were heavily featured throughout the menu, as well as offerings like homemade yogurt and chocolate.

The evening’s casual vibe was informed by the variations on street found commonly found in Mexico and India.  Course after course of slightly sweet, sometimes spicy, light yet rich soups, sauces and scents came in from the kitchen, all on charmingly mismatched plates and bowls.  The wine bottles populating the tables were emptied as the night wore on, the bottles casting a greenish glow on the candlelit tables.  Homemade chocolate- dipped chili peppers, decoratively scattered across the butcher paper covered tables, melted slowly.

With so many artistic people turning to homemade, handmade food as their new creative outlet, it’s no surprise that Chitra and Sabra are using their energy towards feeding their friends, and making new ones.


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