When it comes to dining in New York City, there are few experiences more intimate than the supper club—a format we’ve long been intrigued by. We’ve been to Ai’s Japanese supper club in a Williamsburg loft with EatWith, a Togolese dinner in a Bed-Stuy bodega, and a dinner party made with foraged food in a dumpster, among others. The new supper club Vivonne has a similar goal—to bring likeminded people together over a leisurely meal—but a caveat: it’s members-only. We attended the inaugural dinner on Tuesday, April 28 to see what it was all about.
Founded by Jessica Wolf, membership manager at NeueHouse, the überchic workspace collective for ambitious creative types, Vivonne takes the networking out of the shared office space and into lavish vacant apartments. Tuesday’s dinner was held in the model unit of an Art Deco skyscraper next to One World Trade Center, the top 21 floors of which are currently being converted into multi-million dollar condos.
“I am looking for intriguing and unique minds—people breaking boundaries in their field, accomplishing something new and innovative,” Jessica explained, and indeed she had gathered an eclectic mix of guests for Vivonne’s first dinner. Among the group was a Christie’s specialist in American art, a publicist, a photo agent, the founders of Underground Eats and A Razor, A Shiny Knife, and a few designers. After taking the wrong elevator up to an unfinished construction site, we found our way into a tastefully decorated apartment where welcome cocktails awaited us.
The culinary talent for the evening was Chef KPE, who has cooked for President Obama and Beyoncé. Over the course of the evening, he presented us with three courses of artfully plated cuisine, starting with a Kumamoto oyster served with sea urchin sorbet, dashi paté, and garlic root. Then there was duck breast with roasted endive, Red Bull hot sauce, brown butter powder, hot water cornbread and kale chips. The meal concluded with a dessert resembling an exotic flower growing in a terrarium, which tasted vaguely like fruit loops. Each course arrived with a wine pairing courtesy of Jacques Azoulay, co-founder and CEO of Gabriella Fine Wines.
After the meal, guests were invited to gather in the living room, where a duo of Juilliard students dubbed Les Deux performed West Side Story-inspired arrangements on the violin and street artist Greg Mike worked on a canvas. Scot and Jacq, the husband-and-wife team behind STATE bags, which for every bag purchased donates a backpack to an American child in need, gifted each guest with a foldover backpack at the end of the night.
Vivonne aims to host a dinner once a month, following a similar format to the inaugural event, though some may have an industry focus, such as film, music, and entrepreneurship. Each event will take place in a different apartment with a different chef. The next dinner is planned for mid-May in the Art Deco Stella Tower, also being converted to luxury condos. Prospective members can apply here or by referral from a current member.
All photos courtesy of Vivonne/Samantha Oh and Roman Lao-Gosney.
For more untapped dinners, check out the 6 best secret supper clubs in NYC.