Supper Liberation Front: Underground Dining Without Pretense

The duo of chefs behind the underground Supper Liberation Front describe themselves online as "former fine dining chefs who love fancy kitchen tools but hate fancy airs."

To share their love of food and gatherings with good cheer, the pair set up $35 four-course reservation-only dinners at secret locations in the city that aim to feed and delight, without the stuffiness or price tag of formal dining.

We checked out a recent dinner showcasing the SLF's take on the Flavors of India. At the secret location (nope, we won't divulge!) we uncorked our bottle of BYO wine and sat back and relaxed, and enjoyed a leisurely-paced dinner with surprising elegance and bold flavors.

Two amuse-bouche courses--or, as the SLF renegades prefer: "lil' bites"--used the bright, sweet, quenching flavors of the season to awaken our palate and senses, first via a slice of cucumber topped with a boozy gelatin, then with a succulent piece of fried porkbelly atop a wedge of honeydew melon dusted with ginger and a sprig of tarragon.

A salad course of summer veggies let the chefs play with the plate's landscape and mingle baby squash with crumbles of tangy yogurt curd and a verbena gelee. This was followed by the course that most evoked an Indian sensibility: Lamb carpaccio with spinach, raisin, apple, and pine nut, served with a hunk of naan and delectable cubes of paneer which were one of the most memorable bites of the meal.

A second entree course showcased the chef's technical skills, with the duck medallion they assembled and topped with a crispy piece of skin, paired with grilled peaches and green garbanzo beans. For dessert, a simple chai-spiced rice pudding--more like a sticky rice--and a coffee digestive.

The mystery is a much fun as the meal at SLF. Because of their casual demeanor and the seating (you're with your own table--it's not "dinner party" style) you can sit back and enjoy spending time with your friends in an unorthodox setting. Since SLF is a "highly classified" operation, you need to sign up to make your reservation; this is done online. They serve Thursday and Friday nights from 6:30-10 p.m. but do pop up here and there for special occasions.

One such special occasion is coming up on August 4th, as the SLF "go legit" for a day with Santa Monica's Library Ale House, serving up a meal paired with a series of beers from Portland, Main'es Allagash Brewery. This time, because of the drinks and an extra course, the cost is $60. Menu, event details, and how to reserve here.

Keep up with the SLF via Twitter & Facebook.