Members-only Dinner Club expands to Las Vegas restaurants
A members-only dining club is expanding to Las Vegas this month, offering five-course dinners at three local restaurants to those who join.
Currently operating in 12 cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, Tasting Collective matches chef-owned businesses with members who want to meet other food-obsessed people and try off-menu items when they dine.
At each bi-weekly event, members sit at communal tables while the chef talks to the group about each dish, often sharing personal stories and engaging in discussions with curious diners.
Memberships are $165 per year, with the first 500 memberships in Las Vegas costing $115. Tickets for the dinners are priced at $60. Restaurants keep the full ticket price, with Tasting Collective profiting only from memberships.
Restaurants benefit by receiving immediate feedback on dishes and filling the house on an otherwise slow night, says founder Nat Gelb.
Gelb says he grew up in upstate New York, in a rural area with no restaurants. “My family has always come together and connected over food,” he says. “I moved to town and discovered that the human connection to home was missing in restaurant food.”
Gelb started the club in New York in 2016 and has since grown the club to over 7,000 members.
Recovering from a roughly 18-month hiatus due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gelb is eager to expand the club to Las Vegas.
“Las Vegas is exactly the foodie scene for what we do,” says Gelb. “We want to work with respected and well-known restaurants and chef-owners who worked in restaurants on the Strip, and I’m excited to finally do that.”
The first of 20-30 events Tasting Collective will launch in Las Vegas will take place on June 15 at the Spanish restaurant Valencian Gold.
Jeffrey Weiss, chef at Valencian Gold and author of Delicatessen; The soul of Spainsays he’s looking forward to creating a “fun menu with more upscale stuff.”
While he usually prepares a selection of tapas, charcuterie and paella at his restaurant, Weiss takes advantage of the Tasting Collective dinner to prepare an Iberian pork dish called presa as one of the dishes.
“In Spain, pigs are slaughtered in a slightly different way,” says the 2015 James Beard Award nominee, who spent more than a year cooking in Spain with Jose Andres. “Presa means ‘the price.’ It’s a truly delicious necklace with muscle and muscle fat cut into steaks and roasts.
Weiss will serve the presa with migas, which he describes as a peasant dish made with dry cracker-like bread shredded in breadcrumbs and toasted with bacon.
“This is a unique opportunity for us at the restaurant. And it’s a fun opportunity for me to interact with the guests,” says Weiss.
Subsequent events are planned for Boom Bang in Henderson and Ada’s Wine Bar in Tivoli Village.