Closed-door eateries lure adventurous diners

Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:33am EDT
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By Kristina Cooke

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters Life!) - Imagine a dinner party with complete strangers.

That is the concept behind closed-door restaurants, luring adventurous diners from Buenos Aires to Berlin and New York.

Diners at the unofficial eateries have to ask where the venue is when they call to reserve a table for dinner, which is usually served at the chef's home.

"There's the slightly thrilling feeling of eating in some sort of speak-easy, like the cops are going to rumble you any second," said Sophie Duxson, 22, from Australia, tucking into spicy chicken noodles at Cocina Sunae.

Meals can vary widely from upscale to comfort food and the underground restaurants also offer aspiring or entrepreneurial cooks the chance to experiment with new recipes or share a more unusual cuisine with adventurous foodies.

Asian-American Christina Sunae started her closed-door restaurant at her house on a quiet residential street because she missed home-cooked Asian food, which is difficult to find in Argentina.

In her converted garage, she serves a four-course dinner and wine for about $30 per person.

"I invited friends for my first dinner and that's how it spread," Sunae said in the simple white-washed dining room dotted with candle-lit tables.   Continued...