Lazy Bear is taking underground dining to the next level. 

Each course’s story is told by the cook to “deepen the enjoyment of the dish,” says Barzelay. Cracklins, barley, chanterelles, dried cabbage, and buckwheat flowers garnish a medallion of Liberty duck (pictured above)—a breed developed to grow more slowly to increase flavor and tenderness.

While the restaurant’s name is an anagram of Barzelay, the chef is no slouch. The former litigation attorney has come a long way since the first underground dinner he hosted in his Duboce Triangle apartment in 2009. “Lazy Bear is the ultimate version of that,” he says. And, despite the mailing list of 1,000-plus devotees all vying for access, the intimate cocktail hour, stellar ingredients, and unconventional format have made this a most enviable reservation.

Bar manager Brandon Presbury underscores seasonality with his inventive cocktails. The Douglas Fir negroni, for example, is a wintry mix of St. George Terroir Gin, Bonal, Americano Bianco, Clear Creek Distilleries Douglas Fir Eau de Vie, and—what else?—an orange-flamed pine needle garnish.

Treat yourself: Pastry chef Maya Erickson (formerly of AQ) gets giddy presenting her tray of treats, a delectable array that ranges from savory sesame seed dim sum balls to frozen s’mores.

In an ode to technicolor seasonality, raw Peconic Bay scallops from Montauk are paired with winter’s early satsumas, Treviso, shaved baby fennel, and tangerine gems, then dressed in a mandarin citronette “that keeps you coming back for more,” says Barzelay.

Chef-owner David Barzelay presides over the eager masses. Forty lucky patrons—who braved Lazy Bear’s early ticketing debacles for a place at one of two nightly seatings—are treated to dinners of up to 18 courses.

See where Lazy Bear ranks on our list of 2014’s Best New Restaurants

This article was published in 7x7's February 2015 issue. Click here to subscribe.