|No photo taking is allowed, but the dining room can be glimpsed here through a round window in Chef Gabriela’s library office.|
A growing trend in high-end dining is the small, hidden restaurant that is only open a few days each week and for a single seating limited to a small group of people. In Orlando, for example, The Table has a waiting list weeks long to get in for one of the two open nights each week. (Read more about it at luxuryta.com, search “Table Orlando.”) And in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, a former woodworker’s shop has been turned into a new communal fine dining experience that has foodies buzzing.
The Copperbox Culinary Atelier is only open for a maximum of 24 guests two nights each week for individual reservations for what it is calling “Atelier Nights,” a communal meal that is a good fit for solo travelers…or even locals looking for something new. Good to know: On other nights, the Atelier is available for private dinners or events, and beginning in October, it will be open for three nights each week.
Using Asian and French culinary techniques, Venezuelan Chef Gabriela Machado and her team (what she calls her “Copperbox Tribe”) develop two concurrent seasonal seven-course menus for both private dinners and the Atelier Nights. The menu changes every two months, with ingredients sourced both locally and globally. (We hear that Machado often picks micro-greens and flowers at the Little Haiti Community Garden on the mornings that the restaurant is open).
No Phones or Photos
Each evening is set up in the format of a private dinner party, kicking off with a sparkling wine reception (including passed hors d’oeuvres) at 7 p.m. (or 8 p.m. in winter). Guests then take their seats at one, two or three communal tables (and turn off their cell phones—no interruptions during the meal, and no photos allowed) and begin a seven-course Chef’s Table meal. Boutique wines are paired with each course, and are occasionally re-paired as ingredients change and dishes evolve, sometimes as often as weekly.
|Contrabando nights are small-plates gatherings that are strictly invitation-only.|
Regular guests may get another opportunity to come back and explore meals in a different way: Machado also hosts “Société entre met” evenings before each menu is introduced. A maximum of 13 past patrons are invited to return and “taste, test and tweak” the menus before the dishes are finalized. (We imagine the experience is not unlike being on a Top Chef or Iron Chef panel…but we haven’t been invited yet.)
And guests who really impress Machado may get to attend one of her Contrabando nights—a small-plates gathering that is strictly invitation-only. We mean that literally: Invited guests receive a letter 72 hours in advance with a personalized password linked to their name with a maximum of two invited guests per person. (Names are checked and crosschecked at the door, we hear.) As with Atelier nights, no photos, no social media posts are allowed during dinner.
For more information and reservations, call 305-392-0983 or e-mail [email protected].