Best Underground Dinner Experience for Those Who Are Having Trouble Experiencing an Actual Underground Dinner

Chef's Night

So you're curious about these "underground dinners" you've overheard folks talking about. You've always considered yourself interested in the cultural vanguard and passably well informed (if not, as a rule, an actual participant). And you might not be a "foodie" (don't you detest that word?), but you certainly know your way around a menu if you do say so yourself. Still, even if you did want to attend one of these events, you — how to put this, er, delicately? — you lack the requisite connections who'd be able to get you onto the guest list. Well, hold on to your silverware, Stan, because we have just the meal for you! About once a month, the Mud House on Cherokee Street (certainly you're familiar with Cherokee Street, n'est çe pas?) is transformed from a cozy neighborhood coffeehouse into something right out of a spread in Gourmet magazine. (Which magazine, you're quick to point out, you subscribed to for years and years before its demise, even if you did think it was all downhill once Ruth Reichl took the reins.) For the menu, chef Chris Bork riffs on a culinary theme that strikes his fancy: One time it might be Vietnamese, the next time the many wonders of lamb. Diners pay a prix fixe — typically $40 to $50 — to sit side by side at long tables and eat family-style. (This encourages interaction with total strangers, something you're normally not prone to but that you know you really ought to be.) It doesn't hurt that the food is phenomenal. Oh, and don't forget: It's strictly BYOB.

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