Guess who is coming to dinner.
A much-hyped underground dining club is coming to Brooklyn for the first time this weekend. The PlaceInvaders — also known as Clinton Hill cooking enthusiasts Katie Smith-Adair and Hagan Blount — have been hosting a series of secretive monthly meals in swanky New York City apartments since May last year, but this is the first time they will be bringing the event to a residence in their home borough. They won’t say which one — you have to get a ticket to find out — but they promise the location will be worth the suspense.
“It’s the type of space that when you walk by, you definitely slow down and crane your neck a bit to get a better view into,” said Smith-Adair.
A PlaceInvaders dinner works like this — prospective guests sign up at the website, then receive an e-mail from the founders with an invite to the next event. The mystery location is then only revealed to those who agree to attend. Upon arrival, guests meet their dining companions, go exploring in the host apartment (the owners make themselves scarce), and then sit down to a multi-course meal cooked up by Smith-Adair and Blount.
Most previous attendees have discovered PlaceInvaders through word of mouth, Blount said, but the event has recently been receiving plenty of attention in the press, thanks to the unique locations it allows its attendees to access. Past PlaceInvaders meals have taken place in an abandoned penthouse, a graffiti-covered West Village studio, and the apartment of celebrity gym owner David Barton, amongst others.
The pair never use the same location twice, and always make sure the residences have some unique attribute or angle attendees wouldn’t get from a normal dining experience, they said.
“We try to make sure the locations give our guests the feeling that they’re getting exclusive access to the type of place they’ve never seen before, but always wondered about,” said Smith-Adair.
The concept has been so well-received that the duo are working on plans to expand beyond New York in 2015, Blount said.
And then there is the food. Smith-Adair and Blount are not professional chefs, but said they try their best to serve original spins on tried and tested recipes.
“We can follow recipes, but we usually make slight modifications,” said Blount.
The menu for each meal is typically seasonal, but a few items have resurfaced based on diner response, they said. One past menu included Peruvian-style ceviche, shot glasses of gazpacho, beef tenderloin, a South American cheese plate, and a Brazilian dessert.
The dishes for the PlaceInvaders’ first foray into Brooklyn, which will run Dec. 11–14 and include both brunch and dinner seatings, are still mostly hush-hush, but the pair did share one item they promise will be on the table. The dish is a rerun of a favorite from an event this summer, where the pair combined their own duck hash recipe with Manhattan restaurant chain Momofuku’s bo ssam recipe — a Korean dish of pork, seafood, kimchi, and rice. It was a spontaneous creation — Blount and Smith-Adair had made too much bo ssam the night before and still had some left-over — but it proved to be an big hit, said Blount.
“It was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten,” he said. “It returns to the menu this weekend.”
PlaceInvaders at a mystery location in Brooklyn. Dec. 11–14 at 1 pm and 8 pm. Brunch $85, dinner $125, including five-course meal and drinks. Request an invitation at x.placeinvaders.co.