When Zephyr Paquette opened Skelly and the Bean earlier this year, she reserved Monday and Tuesday nights for popups and other special dinners for local up-and-coming chefs. And these days it does seem like any local culinary type with hopes of opening his or her own spot has a menu on the calendar at the Capitol Hill restaurant. The key to these dinners--buy your tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets, then call the restaurant to book a specific seating time. And be patient should you experience service issues; heading up a kitchen for a single night can be quite a stressful undertaking.
Here are a few highlights from the coming weeks.
Monday, August 20
Zephyr Paquette, Dandy Days of Summer
As mentioned earlier, Paquette will be hosting, well, herself on Monday night, as she cooks a special menu in tribute to both Julia Child and Paquette’s late mentor, Carol Nockold. A $10 ticket secures your seat, and gets deducted from the total bill.
Tuesday, August 28
Rocky Yeh, Bon Rappetite Tribute
This local bon vivant (now repping a spirits portfolio for the Proof Collection) is ubiquitous in booze circles, but he also happens to be a fearsome cook. Yeh met Paquette at a fried chicken cookoff back at Union, and he’s coming in to pay culinary tribute to Atlanta’s Bon Rappetite restaurant, where the entire menu is an homage to hip hop artists and other individuals of the baller persuasion. On Rocky’s menu: Wu-Tang Clams, Bone Thugs and Hominy, Cee Lo Greens, Salt N Pepa Beef Cheeks, and Notorious PIG. He’s looking for a pastry chef who can conjure up som Fresh Prince of Éclair. Oh, and Nathan Weber will be creating cocktail pairings using various smaller-batch spirits. Tickets are $35 (hey, the wordplay alone is worth that much) and food is served family style. Keep an eye on Brown Paper Tickets and Skelly's Facebook for this one.
Tuesday, September 4
Rich Coffey Schooner Exact Beer Dinner
After leaving Restaurant Bea earlier this summer, the chef and certified Cicerone started his own business, Estaminet, and promised some popup beer dinners. He delivers his first in partnership with the stalwart Schooner Exact brewery. The $45 ticket buys a four-course meal, including Flemish-style beer-braised beef and a pave of Theo chocolate, with bacon. Diners can purchase beer pairings for each course.
Tara Ayers and Rachael Coyle, Summer Lovin’
There’s really no agenda for Ocho chef Tara Ayers and pastry chef Rachel Coyle’s dinner, other than cooking the stuff they make at home, and fashioning the evening into an end-of-summer party. The two met while working at Le Pichet, have remained friends, and are planning a menu of homemade flatbread sandwiches and huckleberry ice cream cones, as well as assorted other snacks. Tickets are $16 (link forthcoming at Brown Paper Tickets) and, in true party fashion, plates will be served from the counter rather than at the table. Coyle will return in October to do a crepe-focused menu—she’s currently scouting locations in hopes of opening a Breton-style creperie.
Monday and Tuesday, September 17-18
Kathleen Khoo, Nonya-Style Cuisine
Paquette says culinary instructor and food blogger Kathleen Khoo is bringing in her mom to help cook this menu of Malaysian-Chinese, or Nonya, fare that includes roti jala with beef rendang, and chili manila clams. Tickets are $35; read more about Khoo at her blog, straitfood.com, a reference to Malaysia’s Strait of Malacca.
Rich Coffey Lantern Brewing Beer Dinner
For Coffey’s second go-round, he will partner with tiny Lantern Brewing, maker of tasty, surprisingly complex beers that are tough to find outside the Phinney farmers market or occasional festival. Coffey will pair steak frites with blue cheese butter with Lantern’s abbey-style dubbel, and a cherry-hazelnut duck sausage with a tart cherry pale ale. Tickets are, once again, $45 and beer is not included.
Monday, October 1
Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi
The former executive chef at Chez Shea studied under a master soba maker in Tokyo. Now she runs her own business, Kamonegi, and is a rare chef cutting her soba noodles by hand, using Washington-grown buckwheat. But skilled noodle-making is just half of the equation. Her $34 menu also suggests she knows what to do with the finished product, serving her soba with a hot bacon-curry dipping sauce made with the insanely good bacon from Hitchcock, or salad-style with ground chicken, eggplant, arugula and a runny-yolked egg.