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Felice

Hidden Kitchen

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Trying to convince Parisians or Europeans in general that American cuisine can be great is not something easy to do, especially since most of the restaurants serving ‘American’ cuisine here in Paris, dish out mediocre burgers and fries or flavorless tex-mex. Ironically it was after living in France that I developed an interest in American cuisine and have always wished there was a more authentic rendition to be found beyond the usual tourist traps. Unfortunately after trying most of the American restaurants in Paris, I have yet to find even one that comes close to what you can find back home. Until now…

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to be invited to the trial run of ‘'Hidden Kitchen', an underground dining club started by two young American chefs from Seattle. I had never been to an underground restaurant before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it sounded like a lot of fun--a 7 course meal, paired with wine, served in a private apartment.

The evening was pure bliss for me and the night proved that when American cuisine is done well it can easily rival the world’s best cuisine.

Dinner began with an amuse bouche which consisted of a refreshing shot of gazpacho with a miniature BLT,

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then came a velvety roasted corn soup garnished with a fragrant black bean salsa

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Fava beans 2 ways, soft cooked egg, and the chefs take on green goddess dressing

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Chilled crab cake with layered avocado and spicy mayo

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Seared Atlantic salmon over Israeli couscous salad and watercress

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A cool watermelon granita cleansed the palate (no photo)

An amazing balsamic marinated steak with spicy peaches and crispy fried onions

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Heirloom tomatoes over mozzarella fondue (no photo)

A delicious cherry hand pie and a miniature root beer float (no photo)

We finished up with a small box of beautiful handmade petit fours, all variations on American favorites like Oreo cookies and peanut butter cups.

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One of the most fun aspects of the evening was introducing my French boyfriend to American classics like the ‘Root beer Float’ an acquired taste it seems. :smile:

Now, perhaps the nostalgia in me has swayed my opinion, especially since I’ve only been back to the States twice in six years and begin to long for tastes of home, but I really felt this was a wonderful dining experience, something unique and refreshing on the Parisian dining scene. The cuisine was fresh, playful and expertly prepared and my only fear is that like so many of my favorites, it will soon be too hard to book.

For more about “Hidden Kitchen” (and better photos!) read Clotilde’s take on Chocolate and Zucchini

Go to'Hidden Kitchen' for reservations


www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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Just out of curiosity, this is illegal in Seattle, and in most of the US.  Health departments don't allow the preparation of food for sale in home kitchens.  Is that not true in France?

Well to get around this detail, they explain that they are a dining club, not a restaurant and they only ask that you make a suggested donation, which I believe is between 50€ to 60€ with wine included. Plus you can only reserve two nights a week for now.


www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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Seattle actually has three underground restaurants. There is Gypsy which was featured on the Travel Channel when Anthony Bourdain dined there. There is One Pot which is owned by the former owner of Ripe and Clark Lewis in Portland, One Pot serves at Portalis in Ballard on Sundays. There is also a farm on Vashon that serves meat/veggies raised/grown on the farm. All three of these are very public, albeit pretty hard to get into because of their popularity.

Private supper clubs are in most major American cities, ghetto gourmet is another big one.


"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."
-EW

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I am privileged enough to have been present at the Hidden Kitchen dinner... It was great food and great fun. It was the best place to be in Paris on that Sunday night. I was impressed by the effort and the execution, although I didn't think about it too much... I was busy enjoying myself and the discussion at the table. All the pieces were there: food, wine, deco and good company.

As for questions of legality, I spent several years trying to open a 'legal' restaurant in Paris and I'm convinced that Braden has found a very viable solution. Bravo!

A class act from start to finish. Excellent rapport qualité/prix.

As Felice mentioned, Root beer floats don't excite our french friends... That's ok. I happily drank whatever they didn't finish. I had not had one of those in 10 years.

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Just out of curiosity, this is illegal in Seattle, and in most of the US.  Health departments don't allow the preparation of food for sale in home kitchens.  Is that not true in France?

Well to get around this detail, they explain that they are a dining club, not a restaurant and they only ask that you make a suggested donation, which I believe is between 50€ to 60€ with wine included. Plus you can only reserve two nights a week for now.

How were the wines?It seems there is no corkage fee with BYO.In that case what will be the cost for dinner?

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I am privileged enough to have been present at the Hidden Kitchen dinner...

I suspect many of us wish we had have been invited; however Braden's biweekly tastings permit us a little window on the experience.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Seattle actually has three underground restaurants. There is Gypsy which was featured on the Travel Channel when Anthony Bourdain dined there. There is One Pot which is owned by the former owner of Ripe and Clark Lewis in Portland, One Pot serves at Portalis in Ballard on Sundays. There is also a farm on Vashon that serves meat/veggies raised/grown on the farm. All three of these are very public, albeit pretty hard to get into because of their popularity.

Private supper clubs are in most major American cities, ghetto gourmet is another big one.

Don't forget our very own Cache


PS: I am a guy.

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