11/26/2012 03:45 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2013

The Allure Of The Underground Supper Club : The New Yorker

For the past two years, in a loft apartment in downtown Los Angeles, Craig Thornton has been conducting an experiment in the conventions of high-end American dining. Several nights a week, a group of sixteen strangers gather around his dining-room table to eat delicacies he has handpicked and prepared for them, from a meticulously considered menu over which they have no say. It is the toughest reservation in the city: when he announces a dinner, hundreds of people typically respond. The group is selected with an eye toward occupational balance -- all lawyers, a party foul that was recently avoided thanks to Google, would have been too monochrome -- and, when possible, democracy.