There’s something about a secret that just makes everything more exciting. Surprise parties, secret rendezvous and private dinners all take on a special, surreal quality above and beyond their well-publicized counterparts.
Agree? Then imagine the fun you could have at a restaurant that shows up for one night only in a location known to you and just a few dozen other people.
That’s what the Hush secret supper club is all about. Their motto is “Eat outside the box,” and they take it very seriously; in fact, they encourage people to eat outside the restaurant, outside their comfort zone and sometimes just plain outside. They’ve hosted dinners in abandoned buildings, classic car museums and even on the roof of an art museum. It’s taken the Denver/Boulder area by storm…a quiet, secretive storm.
The Hush experience starts by getting your name on their email mailing list (you can do so by visiting hushdenver.com). When a new event is scheduled, you receive an email. Be one of the first 75 or so to respond, and you’ve earned yourself a seat. Founder Phil Armstrong’s mission is to find promising chefs with the desire to prove that they can feed 75 people in, say, a field on a beef ranch.
That’s where I found myself for my first Hush experience, on a grassy expanse on the Colorado’s Best Beef ranch outside of Boulder.
It was Hush’s first foray into Boulder County, and the featured chef was none other than Tim Payne of Terroir in Longmont. A suggested donation of $85 gets you five courses with paired wines and a donation to a local charity. For their inaugural Boulder event, Hush chose to partner with Slow Food Boulder, a perfect match because of the organization’s focus on locally produced and blissfully
The setting felt a bit more formal than your typical farm dinner, and the food was anything but typical. A ridiculously good smoked tomato gazpacho started the evening off, topped with an icy dollop of cucumber granita and arugula oil. Other courses included a Colorado bass filet with a crayfish fritter, a cider reduction-dressed salad with leg of pork and cracklins from Long Farm, and port-braised short ribs sourced mere yards away. Talk about local.
But not all of Hush’s offerings are as formal. Another event I attended made use of a picturesque apartment courtyard, inviting the best and brightest from Denver’s street food scene to set up shop and offer delicacies including wild boar sausage, head cheese sliders and wood-fired pizza as well as Biker Jim’s astonishingly tasty cheesecakes.
While the actual secrecy of the Hush dinners is debatable (I am, after all, outing them in the largest publication in Boulder County), the thrill is absolute. Finding yourself on the guest list to enjoy a dinner prepared exclusively for you is a delight anyone serious about their plates should covet. And if we get to help a noble cause in the process, that only improves the adventure all the more.
5 Amazing Things I Tasted at Hush
1. Smoked Tomato Gazpacho
By Tim Payne. This was honestly the best gazpacho I have ever had and the amazing addition of the cucumber granita made it that much more intriguing.
2. Bread Pudding on a Stick
By The Gastro Cart. Whoever came up with this was a genius! Although a little tricky to eat (the bread pudding doesn’t want to stay on the stick), very delicious.
3. Madhava Honey and Haystack Goat Cheese Gelato
By Tim Payne. Topped with a mead sauce and a crunchy lavender-kissed biscotti, this dessert was terrifically
complex and layered, and a perfect
end to the meal.
4. Margherita Pizza
By Brava! Pizzaria. The best pizza I’ve had standing on a sidewalk, hands down.
5. Dark Chocolate Chipotle Cheesecake
By Biker Jim’s Sausage Cart. I absolutely did not expect killer cheesecake from a guy named Biker Jim, nor from a sausage cart, but this stuff was ridiculously good. Biker Jim is working on opening a permanent restaurant in Denver.