Taking the dinner party offline on WORTH STREET

Kat at Worth KitchenTamy and friends of Worth KitchenPanna Cotta at Worth Kitchen

I GAVE UP KEEPING MY FACEBOOK PROFILE PRIVATE a few months back when the number of requests from people who I’d never met began to exceed the number of those I have. If Frank Bruni, former New York Times restaurant critic, will accept my cold friend request, then I will accept random invitations too. I do, however, draw the line at creepy profile photos, Jesus references, bad grammar, and guys who have mostly Asian female friends. But the web is the world in which I live and, for the most part, I embrace it.

Still, as enthusiastic about social media as I am, it takes an extra-large leap of faith to invite your online community into your home. This is where Tamy and Felipe of Thursday’s at Worth Street come in. As stated on their blog, the mission:

“Somewhere in the streets of NYC is a small apartment with a kitchen that serves two, four, and even seven. It happens every Thursday night and the combination of guests and recipes are endless.”

I’ve attended several “underground” supper clubs in the city and the food has generally hovered above homemade, but below restaurant calibre; guests are usually friends of friends; price of dinner is around $40. What sets Worth Kitchen apart from others, then, is that Felipe cooks with deft hands despite lacking formal training; the couple is committed to inclusivity – within reason, of course – while aiming to bring together weekly groups of diners with complimentary interests; and they want to keep Thursday’s at Worth Street free.

When Worth Kitchen announced on Twitter there were open seats at the table that Thursday, I leapt at the chance to meet Tamy and Felipe.

My Chinese upbringing taught me to never show up at someone’s door without food or other token of gratuity, so given Worth Kitchen‘s policy of not charging guests, I was left in limbo. I thought of bringing dessert, but before I could buy a pie, I learned that Worth Kitchen teams up with Tribeca-based Frankly Wines to offer guests the option of purchasing wine that’s specially selected to pair with that week’s menu. The affordable five (or so) bottle list is made available on Frankly Wine‘s website for perusal, purchase, and is delivered free of charge to the couple’s home right before dinner on Thursday night. Worth Kitchen brings together the convenience of restaurant dining with the inimitable intimacy of being home with friends. If only every dinner experience was so seamless and easy.

The night began with a toast before flounder ceviche with cut corn and Peruvian chili appeared around 8PM. The appetizer led to the next highlight – lamb chops with mint pesto sauce and a square of cheesy quinoa, which reminded me of a savory rice krispie treat. We talked about the food, the wine (La Butte Gamay 2009 was especially well-received), our work, ways that Tamy and Felipe can meet their neighbors in the building, how to make the apartment soundproof, and the colorful guests they’ve had previously. They also pointed out that my friend Kat and I were the first true strangers – plucked fresh off the internet – that they’d ever invited. I have a good feeling this is no longer the case. amy • oct 24, 2010

Follow Tamy and Felipe on their blog Thursday’s at Worth Street and twitter (@worthkitchen) for notes on the latest dinner and recipes. The dessert pictured on the bottom is mint and ginger-infused coconut panna cotta with mango.

October 24, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . TriBeCa, twitter, Wine. 2 comments.