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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stag Dining Group: Not Quite Underground, But Still a Feast

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Scenes from Stag Dining Group's last semi-clandestine dinner. - COURTESY OF JULIE MICHELLE
  • Courtesy of Julie Michelle
  • Scenes from Stag Dining Group's last semi-clandestine dinner.

The underground dining movement of the last decade, whose fiercest proponents claimed would "kill the restaurant," has either matured or been thrashed into shape, depending on who you ask. Stag Dining Group, the subject of this week's full-length restaurant review in the Weekly, has turned the underground dinner into a successful business, complete with corporate partnerships, liability insurance, and the right permits. But as I discovered when I went to a recent clandestine dinner at the Pacific Rod & Game Club, they've retained something essential from that movement: the ability to stage an event.

Stag Dining Group's two chefs, Jordan Grosser and Ted Fleury, who've worked at restaurants like Campton Place, Winterland, and Alembic (where Fleury is still chef), cooked more rustic fare at the dinner than at their restaurants. But it had a level of polish I didn't often encounter during the heyday of the secret supper. And no communal table at a restaurant can bring strangers together like an afternoon spent shooting skeet, drinking a lot of rosé, and gorging yourselves on fresh asparagus and grilled quail.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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