Eat With, A Private Supper Club, Lets You Dine With Total Strangers — And It's A Deliciously Good Time
New York City's restaurant scene can feel overwhelming, even for a food journalist like me. It's a never-ending carousel of openings, reservations, and trendy dinner guests. Sure, you could throw a dinner party — but who has the time? Or space? When you can simultaneously touch both walls of your living room, hosting is basically a no go. So when I heard that a web startup called Eat With was trying to democratize the private dining scene, I couldn't wait to attend.
Eat With is an Israeli web transplant that's revolutionized the art of the dinner party. It operates like a dating service for amateur chefs and foodies, matching them for the opportunity to attend a semi-professional dinner party in the comfort of the cook's own home. The best part? You won't know the other guests, giving you the opportunity to meet a host of new friends and professional contacts. (The best part might actually be the price tag, which — at $55 a pop — makes it one of the cheapest tasting menus in the city.)
I attended my first dinner in the Williamsburg studio of a Japanese chef named Ai. Dinner started promptly at 8:30, but guests were encouraged to arrive 30 minutes early to meet their fellow diners. I was immediately drawn to a Swedish couple who had chosen Eat With as the perfect way to spend the first night of their five day trip. Across from me was an Israeli architect in New York to design a local bakery. The other guests were mostly American, stemming from a variety of creative fields: Film, acting, the culinary arts, etc.
Ai worked in the open kitchen, busily preparing a six course meal of foods she'd grown up eating in Japan. Her husband, Mat, worked the crowd to ensure guests had everything they'd need. They attended cautiously to my gluten allergy, providing wheat-less preparations of each dish. My personal favorite was a homemade black sesame sauce, which smothered veggies fresh from their rooftop garden. Or maybe it was the sake-infused ice cream... Yup, definitely the ice cream.
Three hours later — around 11:15 p.m. — I left their home with my new Swedish friends. We traipsed toward the L train, stuffed to the brim with Japanese delicacies and just the right amount of sake. We waited at the Bedford stop, musing that even though the food alone was worth the visit, it was the company that made our evening truly memorable.
You can dine with Eat With in cities all over the world — San Francisco, Barcelona, Paris, and more. Visit their website to select which party you'd like to attend, whether in your hometown or during an upcoming vacation. Just remember to bring your own booze! While food is included in the $55 price, alcohol is BYOB.