Simpatica (Portland, OR)
[The Chowhound Team split this post from its original discussion on the SF Bay board titled "Communal dining in SF?" located here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
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Well, there are several here. Ripe was the first one but a nasty divorce ended it. http://www.simpaticacatering.com/ has a $30 dinner on weekends in an industrial district (plus wine); get on the mail list if you are coming to Portland, it is fabulous but sells out immediately. I enjoyed a rotisserie rib eye and other things the last time there. There are a couple of others as well. Thanks for the responses.
I'm not sure if Ripe is the first here or not....BUT Jason Owens, now with Simpatica, was doing Axis Supper Clubs long before Simpatica came to be. Dinners, via email, in his lovely garden. I know there were similar dinners in the Rockridge area of Berkeley/Oakland when I left there 5 years ago. Didn't go by 'names' then, just chefs cooking out of their homes for an evening of fun for a small fee, all just word of mouth.
kim @ apizza
Wildwood does family style suppers on Sunday nights. Castagna regularly has family style wine dinners on Wednesdays. Ken's Place does family style dinners on the first Sunday of the month. I know Fenouil and Bastas have both done them as well.
There's also the Plate and Pitchfork series: