A 'Gangnam Style' Progressive Dinner



If, like me, you've wasted hours of your life watching the "Gangnam Style" music video, pondered the song’s underlying cultural significance, and practiced PSY’s signature “invisible horse” dance move in the hopes of finding a socially appropriate time to bust it out — if, on top of that, you enjoy Asian food and/or wacky themed cocktails, here’s an event that is tailor-made for you: This Wednesday night, Dishcrawl is hosting a Gangnam Style flash mob dinner event wherein participants will eat their way through three Oakland restaurants and bars and, at the agreed-upon time, break into dance, gracing bystanders with a moment of Gangnam happiness.

Sarah Kompelien, Dishcrawl’s East Bay event organizer, explained that the San Jose-based company takes the time-honored tradition of the progressive dinner — a dinner party in which each course is prepared and eaten at a different person’s home — and applies it to a restaurant context. Typically, participants will go to four restaurants, sit at big communal tables, and sample two or three dishes at each place.

A dish crawl event at Adam's Mediterranean Grill and Cafe in Oakland
  • A "dish crawl" event at Adam's Mediterranean Grill and Cafe in Oakland
The cost of a ticket (usually $40) covers food, tax, and tip; drinks can be purchased with cash on site. Dishcrawl negotiates a price with each restaurant and then charges customers enough to make a small profit.

Normally, the specific destinations for each “crawl” are kept secret, with participants receiving email notification of just the initial meeting place a couple of days in advance. But Kompelien was kind enough to give me the scoop for this Wednesday: The event will kick off at 7 p.m. at Vo’s Restaurant (59 Grand Ave.), move on to Ozumo (2251 Broadway), and then finish up at Era Art Bar and Lounge (19 Grand Ave.). Tickets are $25 and are available online in limited quantities, with the event capping out at about 75 people. Since one of the venues is a bar, this dish crawl will be a 21-and-over event.

“We try to get restaurants to highlight their specialties, so the new faces that we're bringing to the event are trying something new,” Kompelien added.

An earlier Gangnam Style flash mob dish crawl in San Jose.
  • Tina Case
  • An earlier "Gangnam Style" flash mob dish crawl in San Jose.
Often, that means a restaurant will serve fun off-menu items — for instance, Era will be selling a special Gangnam cocktail that its bartenders have created. The menu is pre-set, so the food itself will be a surprise, though Kompelien stressed that all of the options are relatively “safe” and that allergies and dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice.

In terms of the flash mob element, attendees are encouraged to come in costume — dressed up “Gangnam style,” whatever that means to you. Meanwhile, a team from the travel review site Gogobot will be on hand to lead the actual dancing, but in the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to get in a little bit of practice: