|evening in review: Supperclub SF, Le Péché Rouge
||[Jan. 1st, 2008|01:04 pm]
Mr Owl, how many Black Cherry Drop vodka martinis does it take to get to a NYE hangover?
a one, a two, a three, crunch... three.
Supperclub is one of those places where you're going for an extended experience: part Moulin Rouge, part Hell's Kitchen. In an interesting twist inverting the fourth wall of theater, an immense satin bed lines three walls on two stories. Your host is a commanding baritone drag queen. A mixture of both live jazz and techno trance is accentuated by performance art and food. Close proximity means that more than just dinner theater, you're going to be part of the act.
The menu is not provided in advance: if you're selective about what you eat, or in fact if you're picky in general or easily discomfited, this is not the place for you. Playing along is the whole point. For our evening:
Starter: shrimp cocktail served a la Merman
Amuse Bouche: Bleu cheese blueberry muffin
Salad: Smoked trout and baby greens with beets and horseradish creme fraiche
Soup: Lobster bisque served in champagne flute with crazy straw and herbed eggroll
Fish course: Pan seared giant scallops with balsamic drizzled popcorn and leeks hollandaise, served in a pet food bowl
Meat course: Five spice wild boar tenderloin with sweet potato and roasted coconut gratinee and warm onion and mushroom chutney
Dessert: Spicy flourless brownie with gold leaf, and whipped cream in a handcrafted chocolate box
Along with a highly varied and fairly exotic wine list (the bottle of Dom is only the third most expensive bottle of champagne) their cocktail list is as much an experience in itself as it is de rigeur for relaxing into the evening. Exceptionally fresh ingredients pair with a exceptional range of liqueurs, you can often smell your drink before it's even served.
Relaxing into the evening, and in keeping with the Moulin Rouge theme, you've got to expect that what you will experience will delight you even as some of it disturbs you. Upon serving the second floor, the two staircases are ignored as a fire brigade of corseted beauties of all possible gender positioned from floor to bartop to staircase to veranda, twist and sway with each course. A little woman, bent by scoliosis but beautifully dressed as the green fairy, showers patrons with petals. Your host swings from the chandelier channeling both Monroe and Madonna, but too, (s)he's as much channeling Tor Johnson as she is Ed Wood. Dressing to impress means patrons and actresses alike can tango on the dance floor, and you don't care which is which. At midnight, the jazz club scene melts seamlessly into thumping dance music. Vintage zoetrope porn melts together with digitally rendered lavalamps. Even in escape, you have your choice of bathrooms, both mens, womens, and unisex. For those who have experienced a genuine sexual underground, this is not going to be a challenging place. But, by carefully choosing which defensive conventions to forego, it resists becoming a disneyfied dumbing down of the real thing, and actually provides a somewhat safe space to be a little wild, a level of plausible deniability for your flouting convention that a hefty dose of Lillet and the "only in The City" atmosphere can provide.