MacDonough Supper Club: A Plant-based Supper Club Hosted in a Brownstone in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn
Reviewed by Rachel Cohen | Photography by Pascal Bernier and Rachel Cohen
Carolyn Guérard Cale, the host and founder of MacDonough Supper Club, is a plant-based, self-taught cook from South Carolina, living in Brooklyn since 2015. She started hosting meals out of her apartment last October, after seven years of restaurant work in NYC, as well as Atlanta and Charleston.
[Images: Carolyn Guérard Cale photographed by Pascal Bernier]
These suppers are meant to facilitate communication and connection, and be rooted in a sense of ease. Carolyn’s food draws from her background- growing up in the South with British and French influences, and is built around locally grown produce. While her food is plant based, it is not lacking in butter, milk, or stock, as she makes plant based versions of those essential ingredients herself.
Our NYC-based editor Rachel Cohen attended one of Carolyn’s dinners to share the experience with you. Here are her impressions and why you should definitely attend one yourself if you live in or are visiting Brooklyn.
A Fairytale-like Supper Club
From the moment you enter, the setting of MacDonough Supper Club feels like something out of a fairytale. As you step off the street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bed Stuy, and into a charmingly cozy brownstone with a real life bunny hopping freely in the backyard, cava is being offered to you. Next, you step into a dimly lit room with an inviting dinner table, welcoming you to an exquisite four course plant-based meal. Not convinced yet? What if I told you that the cold cucumber soup was served in the most delicate tea cup I’ve ever laid my eyes on? The key is in the details.
[Photography: Pascal Bernier]
The chef and host, Carolyn, does an amazing job of combining this cozy setting with food and wine pairings that make your taste buds dance and are sure to impress each one of her guests. The star of the night is, without a doubt, the food. Carolyn’s love for the freshest ingredients from the Hudson Valley makes each dish uniquely satisfying. Here are my highlights from the night:
First Course: “Charleston Receipts” Cold Cucumber Soup
The first dish of the evening goes right back to Carolyn’s roots as it’s a recipe she adapted from the Charleston Receipts cookbook published in the 1950’s. The refreshing soup, served in that adorable teacup I mentioned, was paired with Zajc Cviček, a Slovenian rosé.
Second Course: NJ-made Perciatelli Pasta, Soubise, Cremini Mushrooms, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Blistered Blueberries
I know what you may be thinking, “blistered blueberries… in pasta?”. That is what I thought too, but trust me on this, it not only works, but it’s insanely delicious. This dish was the perfect meal for a hot end of summer day and left me wanting to lick the plate (did I? You’ll never know…). With it, she poured a L’Atypic Malbec/Cab Franc that matched it perfectly.
Third Course: Roasted Fairytale Eggplant, Carrot & White Truffle Purée, Sautéed Beet Greens & Lamb’s Quarters, Tomato Nduja
[Note: Clarification, due to some feedback we’ve received: the term “Lamb’s Quarters” refers to a plant and is indeed, fully vegan.]
This course, so fittingly named after its fairytale theme, may have been my favorite. You could truly taste how fresh each ingredient was and they were all paired to perfection, as was the wine, a Pasbubio amaro.
Fourth Course: Peach Tart, Korean Mint, Maple & Rhubarb Syrup
Okay, maybe I spoke too quickly and this one was the true winner of the night because, let’s face it, it is dessert. The tart was sweet and light but by no means lacked flavor. This final part of the meal was paired with a homemade cold tea that had nettle, oat tops, hibiscus, skullcap, and tulsi which is meant to be soothing, cooling, and to help our bodies prepare to regenerate during sleep.
A 10/10 Experience
The attention to detail and fresh produce easily made this whole experience a 10/10 for me. The setting is great for a date night, dinner with friends, or, thanks to the communal style table, it is actually the perfect spot for a solo date too. I’m a firm believer in the importance of taking ourselves out on dates, so if you’re hesitant or nervous about going alone, don’t be, you deserve a wonderful night out like this one. To book a dinner at the MacDonough Supper Club, click on the link below.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of MacDonough Supper Club’s dinners might include small amounts of local honey, making them plant-based and not fully vegan. This is, however, always disclosed on the reservation page as well as in person upon arriving and vegans can request for their meal to be made fully vegan.