The Coterie: A Private Dining Society and Social Club in Washington D.C

Do you fancy yourself a fiendish foodie, always on the search for a fresh bite? Are you an insatiable urbanite, always on the lookout for innovative concepts or exclusive events? If the answer to either – or preferably, both – of those questions is “yes”, then you’ll love The Coterie.

I was introduced to The Coterie through the Zagat Destination Dinner survey contest, where I filled out several reviews for Zagat’s DC Nightlife Survey and was chosen as a winner to attend a special event with a guest. Now, this is the one of the few contests or promotions of any kind that I’ve ever managed to win in my life, so I was quite excited, but I couldn’t have imagined the experience which was to follow.

We took part in an epic evening-long event, a “culinary journey across DC”, which brought us to four different restaurants and finally a cocktail party. We criss-crossed through D.C., from PS7 to Bibiana to 701 and finally Birch and Barley, before ending up at T-Square in Georgetown. Along the way, we sampled nearly a dozen unique beverages and bites, and we enjoyed expense-free transportation courtesy of Uber, a convenient service which you can use on your smartphone to instantly track down a high quality fleet of cabs.

The chefs and mixologists not only provided amazing, memorable fare, but they crafted their concepts to a particular theme, provided by the event’s guest speaker, Dr. Ogi Ogas. Dr. Ogas is a neuroscientist and the author of a new book on male and female anger and sexuality, A Billion Angry Brains and A Billion Wicked Thoughts. In between rounds of food and drink at the final cocktail party portion of the evening, Dr. Ogas described his research and some of the core concepts from his book.

Now, not every Coterie event is quite like this, but it did offer a sneak peek at what the group is all about. Founded by Jill Richmond and Seth Teicher, who were on hand to mingle with guests throughout the evening, The Coterie bills itself as a private dining society which aims to expand your culinary horizons in entertaining settings while incorporating some culture along the way.

Essentially, everything they do fits into their three word mission of “Ideas. Discovery. Food.” It’s their vision of the perfect dinner party, an epicurean event hand-in-hand with conversation and exploration, new people and new ideas.

The Coterie currently has 4 partner restaurants – mentioned above – and provides two core programs. They offer off-menu, multi-course tasting menus, or Black Box Tastings, at their partner restaurants, and Sunday Fireside Cocktails, where culture meets cocktails as described in the event I attended.

For a $42/month membership, you’ll gain exclusive access to those special tasting menus at each of the partner restaurants, as well as admission to their Sunday Fireside Cocktail sessions.

Whether or not that’s up your alley, and in your price range, is of course your call. But for the fiendish foodies and insatiable urbanites, the culturally curious and the gregarious gastronomes – and there is certainly a great deal of you out there in the D.C. area – then you may just want to check The Coterie out for yourself.

This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo Voices, June 19, 2012