Detroit dinner club popping up in Columbus

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

When Detroit chef Matthew Baldridge came to Columbus with photographer Janna Coumoundouros in the fall, the two fell in love with the city. Immediately, Baldridge says, he wanted to know if there was a market for his kind of food-classically French, but fun and accessible-in Ohio's capital city.

So, this Saturday, Jan. 10, Baldridge will bring his talents to Columbus, hosting two pop-up dinners that combine food with art. The four-course, one-off suppers are part of a successful series Baldridge has hosted in and around Detroit called Dinner Club Pop Up. The events are held at nontraditional spaces, such as art galleries, coffee shops (and an ice cream parlor once), and includes some sort of accompanying art experience, be it a fashion show, local artwork or film playing in the background with the sound off.

The first out-of-state- Dinner Club Pop Up will be held at The Avenue at Polaris apartments (8321 Seattle Ave., Polaris) at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. There are only 16 seats per seating-but if the event sells out, Baldridge may add events on Sunday.

"My whole career's been ultra, high-end fine dining. I wanted to break away from that," Baldridge says, adding diners don't always want to be held hostage for four-hour dinners. He was inspired to start this dinner club after attending a disappointing nine-course dinner; and so he promises his four-course meals are high end, but not snooty.

The former executive chef of Cliff Bells and chef de cuisine of the Rattlesnake Club is French-trained, but says he uses common, "almost like party store" ingredients. He cites items like Pop Rocks, Altoids and potato chips. For example, he recently served oyster shooters with pickled grapes and grape Pop Rocks, as well as a rabbit loin crusted in potao chips. "It's still a high-end product, but done in a way that's fun, not stuffy."

"The idea is to try something new," he continues.

Saturday's dinner is $50 per person. Guests are encourage to bring their own beer or wine, and suggested pairings are listed on the Dinner Club's website along with the full menu.