A mysterious invitation to a dinner 100 years ago, a secret location and a striking woman with a yellow flower in her hair.
These three ingredients combined to form the anticipation leading up to what was the most talked about alternative dining experience of the year: 41°N 49°W – Dine Titanic. With previews in the NY Post and The Atlantic along with a $300 per head ticket price ($450 for VIP), the producers of this sold-out event had lofty expectations to meet.
Consider them met.
Chefs Rob McCue and Adam Banks nailed the ambitious seven-course menu while Wine Prophet Jonathan Cristaldi, aka Jonny Cigar, provided the flourishes and theatrical embellishments he is known for, which elevated the evening from an amazing dinner into an unforgettable experience. While the dinner was held on the 100th Anniversary of the R.M.S. Titanic’s final night, the evening was a not a replication, but rather a re-imagination of the final meal. The madly talented chefs, with a cameo from Chef Roblé, added a 21st Century culinary upgrade to the original first-class menu.
Period-dressed diners arrived to the northern Union Square location by horse and carriage taxis and limos and the silk-gowned woman with the yellow flower guided them down the block to the surreptitious address. “Welcome aboard,” a British gentleman greeted all and directed them to the first class cabin.
Once aboard, it was clear this was not to be a night of somber reflection, but rather a celebration of life, discovery and perhaps even decadence. Dapperly dressed diners sipped on period cocktails procured by the appropriate lead sponsor, Glenmorangie, underneath hundreds of dangling lead fishing weights hanging from the high ceilings and glimmering like stars. Meagan Sullivan crafted the clever and elegant decor. While the presence of an orchestra was a surprise to none, the modern-classical mash-up was strange and provocative. The orchestra consisted of a traditional Cellist, Megan Sears, paired with indy-electronica Brooklynites Chrome Canyon and Icky Doom of Shadwbx incorporating an Akai MPC, a synthesizer, and the eerie Theremin, a pitch and volume controller played without being touched.
One of the most popular elements was an old-fashioned photo booth where diners could adorn period props such as top hats, feather boas, fox furs, evening gloves and opera-length amber cigarette holders. Actors blended and mingled with guests and even the ship’s captain, though rather standoffish if not aloof, could be seen roaming the decks when he wasn’t manning the helm.
To accompany the lofty feast, Master of Wine Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan paired esteemed vintages (only brands that existed pre-1912, of course). Those lucky enough to ride VIP class were treated to a private kitchen tasting of Louis XIII, Remy Martin’s hundred-year-old cognac that retails for $2,000 per bottle.
As the evening winded down some five to six hours later, guests left with an experience they would be talking about for years. It was not just a dinner or a celebration of a historically significant meal 100 years past; Dine Titanic was a culinary adventure of wonderment and discovery that stimulated all senses.
Photography via Max Flatow.