Chef David Santos’s Secret NYC Dinner Club, Um Segredo, at Good Stock
Jun 26th, 2017 by donuts4dinner

I’ve followed my favorite NYC chef from his West Village restaurant Louro to his taking-the-city-by-storm soup venture, Good Stock, but what made me first fall in love with Chef David Santos‘s cooking were his secret home supper clubs, which he called Um Segredo (“a secret” in Portuguese). Well, they’re back, and they’re not so secret anymore! In that they take place right out in the open at the Good Stock on Carmine Street.

But the same secret feel is still there: just you and five others in the tiny store front, gathered around a table while Chef Santos cooks directly in front of you, offering insight about each of the ingredients and just shooting the breeze like he doesn’t need to concentrate while shaving $100 worth of summer truffle onto your plates.

The fresh herbs and flowers were a beautiful compliment to the late afternoon sun warming the front windows. The roast duck with fresh cilantro and lamb with cumin-flavored squid ink were so good it seemed like a crime that this guy doesn’t have a tasting-menu-only restaurant. The cold peanut butter dessert was so comforting and just plain old yummy that you couldn’t believe he had the guts to serve a warm dessert after it, and then that was just as outstanding. I left feeling like I can’t go to any dinners that aren’t Um Segredo dinners. It’s such amazing food, topped off with an experience you can’t get anywhere else.

Follow Chef Santos on Instagram for the link to buy tickets to the next dinner!

Bien Cuit bread with bacon marmalade

Swimmer crab
Avocado pudding
Turmeric pickled rind
Lime and olive oil

Bluefish pate
Pickled pearl onion
Biscuit crackers
Herb salad

Carrot dog:
Carrot cooked in olive oil and smoked paprika
Buttered bread and mustard puree
6-month-fermented beetkraut

Examining bitter:
Roasted porcini
Charred breakfast radish
Cocoa nib
Charred onion tea infused with elderflower stems and porcini

Pouring the onion tea

Schmaltz-cooked kohlrabi
Milk and aged creme fraiche pudding
Summer truffle

Shaving the truffle

Red wine braised Portuguese octopus
Puree of its braising vegetables
Crispy shallot

Roast duck
Honey sous vide apricot
Goose tongue
Puffed rice

Sous vide lamb
Royal corona beans
Fermented vegetables
Squid ink cumin eggplant puree
Wild garlic flowers

The Elvis:
Honey roasted peanut pudding
Steel cut oat and sorghum crumble
Bacon and banana ice

(This picture does the dessert no justice, I’m sorry; I just got excited about the Good Stock cups.)

Warm strawberry and rhubarb jam
Roasted rhubarb
Biscuit crackers
Vanilla goat’s milk ice cream

Um Segredo – Swinging Summer
Jul 31st, 2012 by donuts4dinner

Chef David Santos’s secret suppers, Um Segredo, are the fun of a dinner party (minus the clean-up) combined with the food of a world-class restaurant (not your friend’s thawed lasagna). You follow the signs once you get to Roosevelt Island, hand your wine over to Chef Santos, and settle in at a long table for a night of great conversation, great service, and even greater cooking that all makes for such a good time it’s somehow midnight before you know it. We loved our first time at Um Segredo, but we exclaimed over our second time.

Swinging Summer dinner, $55

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC

Everyone digging in to the homemade bread–called flatbread but actually some of the fluffiest bread around–and “Portuguese butter”, a drippy lard spread that’s heavy on the black pepper and should probably be the only reason you need to attend Um Segredo.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC
chilled corn soup

Light and fresh but still creamy, almost buttery. So good my friend Anthony couldn’t be bothered with his spoon.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC
striped bass crudo, tomato vin, candy fennel seeds, pickled red onion

Played with bright and rich with the onion and fennel fronds, slick and crunchy with the bass and the seeds, and sour and sweet with the tomato and the candied fennel. My group of six was split between thinking the fish tasted fishy and thinking it was surprisingly mild, but all of us agreed that it was pleasant, and it managed to maintain a firm texture despite the purposely-thick cuts.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC
The Cape Cod Headache: dogfish, heirloom potato salad, spicy BBQ sauce, cornbread crumble

Apparently dogfish is taking over Cape Cod and eating everything in sight, especially the tuna. Apparently most people consider it junk fish, and the fishermen want it to die. Apparently we used to sell it to the Brits for mere cents just to get rid of it. This tooooooooootally prejudiced forum thread about eating dogfish has people saying things like, “The Chinese make soup wit the rocks at the bottom of the ocean; they’ll eat anything–dog fish eyeballs, whatever.” My group thought it was like a milder, less-oily catfish. And we couldn’t imagine why people are afraid to eat it.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC
polenta fritter

The menu said squash blossom tortellini, but the squash blossoms couldn’t be procured, so Chef Santos came up with this replacement spur-of-the-moment to no complaints from us. The fried basil was both novel and added a crunch that the otherwise bready fritter needed.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC
boston baked beans, crispy pork belly, maple foam

This pork belly was every bit as crunchy as it looks. And the foam really did taste like maple. And it sure shouldn’t have complimented the beans, but it sure did.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC

I joined Chef Santos in the kitchen for a moment to watch him put the finishing touches on the plum dessert. He had this deliiiiicious bay leaf ice cream that he brought back in to us from the kitchen after everyone had finished their scoop and asked if anyone wanted seconds. My roommate, bless his soul, said, “I’m going to embarrass you and ask for more of the crumble.” Knowing how things are in fine dining and that the kitchen doesn’t just have extras of everything sitting around that they can thaw out for any old customer, I hissed, “DO NOT EMBARRASS ME.”

Well, you might notice the half-filled tray of leftover and available crumble in the background of my pictures. Oops.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC
plum cobbler, brown sugar crumble, bay leaf ice cream

I’m not sure Chef Santos will ever top the warm, soupy chocolate puddingmoussecake he made at the first Um Segredo I went to, but this was pretty outstanding. The fact that this guy is serving up super-high-end, super-inventive savory courses and then ALSO makes dessert never ceases to amaze my friends and me.

Um Segredo Secret Dinner Club in NYC

And a good time was had by all.

Um Segredo, a Secret Supper Club
Jul 13th, 2012 by donuts4dinner

Even though Chef Dave Santos’s secret dinner clubs have been mentioned on the New York Times and BlackBook websites, have their own Facebook page, and are openly discussed on Chowhound and Mouthfuls, you still feel like you’re privy to something pretty special when you reserve a seat at one of these intimate dinners and receive your e-mail confirmation with directions to the private location on Roosevelt Island. I always say that there are no hidden gems in NYC because the ubiquitous review sites inevitably expose them within weeks of opening, but this is fine dining that’s literally hidden.

All of my food-eatin’ friends had been to Um Segredo–Portuguese for “a secret”–months before my boyfriend and I finally went with our pal Nik, but I’m pretty sure we picked the best dinner possible for our first one: the one with the beer pairings. Each course was served with beer home-brewed by Chef Santos’s roommate, and all of the proceeds from the dinner went toward his future brewpub. Between the painstakingly prepared beer and the menu imagined by a former Per Se and Bouley chef, there was no way we were going to walk away disappointed by this dinner. In fact, we brought more friends with us to our second Santos-hosted dinner, and we’re bringing even more friends with us to tonight’s Um Segredo. Everyone wants in on the secret and the opportunity to watch this chef at work.

Here’s a reminder of our first great experience to get our stomach juices flowing:

One Dude Brew
April 27th

Um Segredo

Um Segredo

Um Segredo
fat butter

Chef Santos called this butter. And then after we’d all tasted it, he told us it was lard. And then we all slathered much, much more of it on our bread.

Um Segredo

Um Segredo
moules frites (mussels & fries)

Um Segredo

Um Segredo

Um Segredo
crispy duck salad, banana puree, spring rice

Um Segredo
fish-n-“chips”, mushy peas, tempura carrot

Um Segredo
pork belly, polenta cake, slaw, bbq sauce

Um Segredo

Um Segredo
spiced molten chocolate cake, vanilla gelato

So good I can still taste it all these months later. It was less like cake and more like thick, hot puddingmousse.

Um Segredo

Um Segredo
Spanish Hipster and Mrs. Spanish Hipster social media-ing the meal

Um Segredo
the moon rising over the Queensboro Bridge back into Manhattan

Put yourself on the Um Segredo mailing list, and I’ll see you at the next one.

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