On Saturday evening, Alex and I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural DinnerSpace, hosted by former TMP dancer Brett Perry and State & Lemp prep cook Kevin Huelsmann. The curated dinner party took place at MING Studios, a gallery on Sixth Street currently showing the vibrantly patterned work of Dutch artist Marijn van Kreij.
Billed as “a curated experience of food, art and conversation,” the evening’s theme centered on a challenge put forth by GOOD Magazine to “bring influential people together over food and brainstorm the state of the global citizen: a person who is locally rooted and globally connected.” In addition to discussing these topics (and many, many more over lots of Cinder wine), attendees also got to experience Huelsmann’s unusual menu, inspired by New York chef and food activist Dan Barber.
As chronicled in The New Yorker, Barber recently launched a pop-up restaurant called wastED, which focused on re-using kitchen scraps and other oft-discarded foodstuffs to make whole meals. He served everything from broken razor clams to beet roots to cheese whey to “cured cuts of waste-fed pig with reject carrot mustard, off-grade sweet potatoes, melba toast from yesterday’s oatmeal.”
Huelsmann started off the evening by circling plates of pickled veggies—like watermelon rinds, smoked asparagus, chard and smoked red carrots—before sending out an amuse bouche of fried focaccia, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and hard-boiled eggs with a homemade kimchi. And things only got more elaborate from there.
The first course included a slab of tofu in a light herb-stem broth with pickled and fried asparagus stems, lettuce stalks and marrow (pictured below).
By the time the second course arrived—an angular salmon collar riddled with fatty hunks of fish, salted apple blossoms, onion skin sauce and pickled mustard seeds—it was too dark to adequately capture any more photos of the food, but suffice to say, it was all wonderful.
The third course included beef heart and creamy beef liver with fresh peas and a charred pea shell sauce paired with a shot of Bulleit bourbon, while the salad course featured grilled and raw lettuces, braised lettuce ribs, strawberry top vinaigrette and shiso. For desert, Huelsmann kept it simple with a refreshing apple blossom panna cotta with tea, candied citrus peels and rhubarb.
As some of the attendees filtered out around midnight, others stayed for a while and danced to vinyl records. It was an exceptionally lovely evening.