Get messy!” Ms. Newberry exhorted the group. “Eat with your hands!” Ms. Spyres dutifully picked up and gnawed a tiny leg. After dessert — lemon curd tarts with blueberries and fresh whipped cream — Ms. Newberry left the clean-up to her hired sous-chef, Justine Renson, grabbed a bottle of wine and plopped on the couch to talk shop with two of her guests, who run another underground restaurant known as Homeslice West.

Now that the underground dining scene is more established, its members — like the Whisk & Ladle; A Razor, a Shiny Knife; and Coach Peaches — have had time to get to know each other. The Homeslice West women are working on a two-day Thanksgiving banquet with about a dozen of their compatriots. They hope to have sponsors like wine companies defray costs and help them earn a profit.

Another ambitious venture is the New York Bite Club, which has as many as 45 guests for its twice monthly eight-course meals, asking each for a $150 “donation” (not including wine, which is officially donated to avoid selling alcohol illegally). It started two and half years ago and has grown so popular that the couple who founded it have hired both a part-time reservationist and a part-time Web site manager. But the couple still go by their first names, Alicia and Daniel, because they fear being shut down.

Many new underground restaurateurs like Ms. Newberry were inspired to start after attending one of Ghetto Gourmet’s roving dinners; now undergrounds exist even in smaller cities like Des Moines. Whether the growing numbers, sponsorship or mainstream restaurant practices will kill their mystique remains to be seen.

“Making it bigger but keeping it intimate and secretive and mysterious, that’s the balance we’re hoping to strike,” Hayden said.

Another option is to change course. Inviting people to get their hands dirty — to stir or sauté or just taste-test — is what sets apart Mr. Castaño and Mr. Cirino’s events from other supper clubs. At the boar cookout, held on an 800-acre farm that belongs to Mr. Cirino’s uncle Jerry Contento, they explicated every step and cut of the butchering. Mr. Cirino gave his girlfriend, Kathryn Mahoney, 27, a vegetarian, a chance to take a whack. Moments before serving, spoonfuls of the boar Bolognese were handed around, to determine if it was too liver-y. (Nope.)

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