It's 1939, the evening before the World's Fair, and the bar at the McKittrick hotel is abuzz with word of a recent arrival: "Deviled eggs ... they're bringing out deviled eggs."
Last Sunday's Absurdity at the McKittrick, a lavish, period-costumed affair with a menu by Chef Marc Murphy (Landmarc, Ditch Plains), was the first in a series of upscale culinary events curated by Underground Eats. Food tourists from the future roamed the hotel, sampling charcuterie, suckling pig, and oysters from a raw bar presided over by a nude woman with a lobster in her lap.
The McKittrick is currently outfitted in '30s garb for "Sleep No More," a hyperdetailed Macbeth that encourages its audience to freely roam the set. Absurdity had a similar format, with diners wandering through dark corridors to get to the next bite. "This is the important place to remember," said a woman waiting at the bar for more champagne.
Although it was often too dark to navigate -- on a flashlight tour of the labyrinthine set, a fellow diner kept dribbling absinthe down the back of my leg -- Absurdity was an absorbing, multisensory experience. Guests were as committed as the performers and kept the atmosphere relatively smartphone-free, save for a few discreet snaps at the raw bar.
Next up from Underground Eats is the Breslin Butcher's Ball on June 27, in which April Bloomfield will prepare choice cuts from Pat LaFrieda's dry-aging vault. For tickets, visit www.undergroundeats.com.