On an industrial block along the Williamsburg waterfront, behind a metal door tagged with graffiti, 30 New Yorkers are pouring wine, laughing with strangers, and eating gourmet vegan cuisine.
The occasion? Chef Matteo Silverman’s weekly 4-Course Vegan supper club, a Brooklyn institution that has been breaking vegan culinary boundaries for over eight years, while remaining largely off the radar.
“I have always wanted my own restaurant, and on top of that, I was always having dinner parties,” says Silverman. When securing investments proved difficult, he came up with the idea of hosting a supper club in his Brooklyn loft. “I started with 12 friends, and I didn’t think they would want to pay for dinner. But they were more than happy to do so.”
Silverman, who moved to New York from California in 2001, has been a vegan for 18 years. At the start of his career, he occasionally prepared animal products, but as soon as he was well-established, he converted to 100% vegan. In addition to hosting 4-course vegan, he works as a consultant chef for clients like Cooler Cleanse, where he created the Raw Cooler meals.
My 4-course vegan meal (prepared single-handedly by Silverman and served by his girlfriend, Carly) consisted of scalloped king oyster mushrooms, a cucumber daikon salad, a spring vegetable crepinette, and cocount chia seed tapioca.
Everything was beautifully presented and delicious, and it left me feeling satisfied rather than uncomfortably full. “Most vegan foods are just a lot of mush,” said Joe Eisman, a devotee. “His are delicate—you can really taste each flavor.”
The real test? Many of the diners at my table were meat eaters—one was even a chef at a steakhouse—and they raved about every course. -Lisa Elaine Held
4-Course Vegan, $40, BYOB. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. www.4coursevegan.com