By Tsz on April 2, 2013
Gastrophoria is a secret underground dinner made by Paladar.
It seems underground dinners and pop-ups are all the rage these days. While the choices out there are vast, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart (and stomach) for Paladar.
What makes Paladar stand out? Well, for one, it was created and ran out of an USC apartment—go Trojans!
Alex Chang and Robert Kronfli, both class of 2011, were tired of the lack of good food around campus. Instead of driving elsewhere to dine, they took matters into their own hands and started a supper club, Paladar, named and modeled after the South American cultural tradition of home-operated restaurants cooking with locally produced food.
For a kinesthesiology (Alex) and music industry (Bobby) major, they can sure rock it in the kitchen. I’ve had the pleasure of snagging a reservation and was astounded by how magnificent the cooking was, especially when none of them were formally trained.
Scallops were expertly seared and paired with a spring onion puree, yuzu kosho, fresh peas and spring vegetables. The raw oysters—which I was almost afraid to try as a college apartment isn’t exactly the poster child for food safety—were exceptional with the addition of Guanciale (Italian bacon) cubes and fresh wasabi.
There was also squid ink pasta bathing in a pool of Ika-shiokara beure blanc (aka fermented squid innards) with English peas and salmon roe. It’s a rather obscure ingredient used in Japanese sushi houses and to be completely honest, not too appetizing sounding. Yet, in the hands of Alex, the end dish tasted like spring taking an umami-filled vacation.
Dessert featured macerated strawberries and candied basil atop pound cake and creme Anglaise—offering another taste of a spring, this time a garden party.
Since Alex and Bobby’s graduation, Paladar suppers became more of a rare occurrence, which is understandable due to life’s many responsibilities. However, they are throwing a formal dinner dinner this Thursday, April 4, 2013. For menu and info, check out their Facebook page. Seats go fast so RSVP stat!
If snagging a reservation isn’t an option, you can find them on the big screen as the Paladar documentary will be debuting in the Tribeca Film Festival this month! Click here for the official trailer.
Best of luck and happy eating!
More underground goodness:
• Come Fly With Me : Cooking an Underground Dinner
• Foodbuzz 24×24: Ode to Foie
• Foodbuzz 24×24: Fall Uni Harvest
• La Source : Cooking for a Cause
• Foodbuzz 24×24: 60s Mad Men Birthday Dinner
• A Green Dinner: An Homage to Munchies