Nuit Blanche is Los Angeles’ newest dining experience created by hospitality guru, Alan Dunn of Tres L.A. Group. The evening transports revelers to the height of the Roaring ‘20s and opening night of Jean Marceau’s Nuit Blanche showcase. Guests are greeted with welcome cocktails, an ultra-premium open bar and Absinthe tasting while dancers entertain with The Charleston. A pianist sets the tone of the evening while an elegantly poised singer tantalizes the crowd. Guests may encounter a magician roaming the room or enter into conversation with a Mime.
Following the cocktail party, host Jean Marceau escorts guests to an extravagant five-course dinner that includes Maine Lobster Claw served by a tap dancing trio, Troy Rieger farmed peach salad dressed with a white balsamic gastrique, Channel Island Sea Bass on a bed of Sweet Potato and Ginger Puree, followed by Harry’s Berries Strawberry Champagne Cocktail, Niman Ranch Tenderloin served with Dandelion Greens and a Dome en Chocolat fondue for dessert.
The unparalleled experience culminates in a breath-taking finale. Should guests wish to continue their evening, an additional voyeuristic performance of a dancing trio will be available for their pleasure.
We caught up with Dunn about how Nuit Blanche came to be, the delectable dinner menu and what is so damn intoxicating about absinthe. Check out the exclusive interview below.
Nuit Blanche is unlike any other experience, How would you describe it to someone as a teaser?
Nuit Blanche is a step back in time. An evening for all senses and no inhibitions. We transport our guests back to 1920’s Paris with an immersive dinner-theatre show and tantalizing cabaret acts. The exclusive show is complimented by a delicately curated five-course dinner, ultra-premium bar and a “no phones/cameras” policy that ensures that our guests can feel uninhibited.
How did the concept come to be?
Some of the best memories that I’ve had living in Los Angeles were the weekends that I spent as the Food and Beverage Director of the Chateau Marmont Hotel. On any given Friday or Saturday evening, I never knew who might be at the piano in the hotel lobby or what kind of engrossing conversation I might find myself in with a fascinating person. Every weekend was different and if my memory serves me, not a single weekend was dull.
With Nuit Blanche, I think that we have created something so unique and intimate, our guests’ experiences will be similar to those amazing nights at The Chateau. Entertaining, elegant and a bit naughty. Most definitely unforgettable.
What kind of preparation goes into a production such as this?
The whole evening is orchestrated. Each part of the evening has a purpose and is rehearsed to try and achieve perfection. In order to guide our guests through the fullest experience, from the moment they walk into the house to the time they leave, we spend a lot of time in rehearsals planning for any potential scenarios. Dancers hold rehearsals to keep the choreography at its best for each performance, the Chefs create the menu to ensure its fresh, seasonal and we make any adjustments for dietary restrictions. The producer and stage manager work closely with sound and lighting to rehearse the flow of the evening to make sure they don’t miss a beat.
What inspired the Parisian ’20s theme?
My wife and I have a deep love for Paris. We met in Paris, fell in love there and vacation there regularly. We have our favorite restaurants and places to stay, but some of the most interesting experiences we’ve had have been at private supper clubs in people’s homes. We wanted to bring the experience back home with us, so we started hosting a dinner party at Carondelet House and called it “Underbelly”. The goal of each dinner was to invite the most interesting and diverse group possible. We might have a hotelier sitting next to a tattoo artist. The dinners were a lot of fun, but the idea was to take the dinner ever further and create a show around it. By way of our love for Paris and the decor of the 1920’s Carondelet House, Nuit Blanche was born.
The Carondelet House is a truly magical venue. What makes it so unique for this specific event?
The house was built in 1928 and I feel is one of Los Angeles’ most unique and beautiful buildings. Guests have always commented on how they feel transported to a different place or time, so we felt it was the perfect backdrop for the show. The story is framed around the history of the Carondelet House and elements of the show use specific features of the building to help tell the story. The host, Jean Marceau relinquishes the house at the end of the show and encourages everyone to “explore.” By the end of the evening, guests feel as comfortable as they might in their own living rooms.
The dinner is just as exquisite as the show. How was the menu designed?
We want every aspect of our guest’s experience to be decadent. The meal is one of the focal points of the evening, so anything less than a five-course dinner and ultra-premium bar would have shortchanged the experience. Our Chef designed the menu to be seasonal and universally appealing, but dietary restrictions are also addressed so no one feels like their experience has been compromised.
We have to talk about the Absinthe tasting drink the cocktail hour. What about it is so intoxicating in this setting?
The Absinthe tasting is appealing for many reasons. The flavor profile makes it a very interesting spirit, but the preparation (a soaked sugar cube ignited until it melts into the drink) adds the perfect amount of visual drama, befitting of the show.
What do you hope guests walk away with after this experience?
It’s very hard to create something that hasn’t been done in Los Angeles, so our goal has always been for our guests to leave saying “I’ve never experienced anything like it!” The show is elegant, intimate and risqué. We want to push the boundaries just enough for people to wake up the next day and think to themselves “Uh…am I in trouble???”
How long will Nuit Blanche run in LA?
As long as there are adventurous people who are willing to try something completely original.
Carondelet House details
627 S Carondelet St., Los Angeles
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