Last month, I got a ticket to the most sought-after event in town: Black Tie Barbecue’s Secret Supper. Black Tie Barbecue, although primarily a catering company, hosts only a handful of these events per year and I was lucky enough to get an invite to their last Secret Supper of 2010. Tickets to the event sold out before they ever announced the event online.
Secret Suppers have gained popularity over the last couple years. A twist on traditional dinners, Black Tie Barbecue’s Secret Suppers have taken place at locations all over Atlanta. The menu and location are kept secret until the day of the event. Past locations have included an unfinished floor in midtown skyscraper, a mansion in Virginia-Highland, to a gas-station turned real estate office where I attended my first Black Tie Secret Supper. Quantity of guests can be as low as 50 and as many as 100. Ticket prices are in the $50 – $60 range.
Black Tie Barbecue is the dream of two couples: Spencer and Allison, Neil and LaToyin. An economic downturn took them from their corporate jobs to an entirely new industry: cooking and catering. None have formal training in either but have learned “one the job”. That’s just a brief synopsis of their story – read more about them here.
But back to the Black Tie’s Secret Supper. The location, disclosed to me the morning of the event, was held at the old Sinclair Gas Station in Decatur. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A converted gas station? Really? But it was actually quite beautiful. But don’t take my word for it – see the pictures below. These Secret Suppers are as much about the location, decor and entertainment factor as they are about the food.
We started things off with some spiced wine and Seafood chowder. Co-owner, Spencer (pictured below) had made the spice wine earlier in the day. It was a nice change of pace from reds or whites and complimented every course well. The seafood chowder was a hearty start to our meal and I could have easily had another bowl, but was careful to pace myself.
Food is served family style and dishes start at one end of the table and make their way to the other end. There was plenty of food to go around – no danger of seconds or even thirds not being available. As I said, guests are not privy to the menu, and we found out after introductions were made, that this was a bit of Thanksgiving preview: with Smoked Turkey, Beef Brisket, Sweet Potato Souffle, Greens and a Bean Salad.
The beef brisket was lovely – seasoned perfectly and on a bed of beautiful chard. It is what I expected to enjoy the most. But surprisingly, it was Black Tie’s Smoked Turkey that blew me away. It was so juicy and tasty – wish I had some right now as it would make one hell of a post-Thanksgiving sandwich. They sold approximately 350 of these babies via a Groupon promo.
Pictured above, is the bean salad. When I heard about the olive vinagrette dressing (I’m not a fan of olives) I politely had a scoop, not really expecting to enjoy it. But the slight olive taste complimented the beans excellently and even an olive-hater like me was a fan. I enjoyed this dish almost as much as the other perennial Thanksgiving favorite served up alongside it – sweet potato souffle.
Dessert was pound cake with a Baileys-Kahlua-like shot. Wish I didn’t have to drive or I’d have downded several of these. So sweet and delicious – the perfect end to our evening.
Extras: If you can’t make it to a Secret Supper, Black Tie Barbecue offers lunch on Fridays only from 11 am to 3pm. No dining area – only pick up. Menu varies.
486 Decatur St
Atlanta, GA 30312
Check out Black Tie Barbecue on Fox 5