Monday, October 19, 2009

ood evening. Your server has informed me that you two are interested in tonight’s tasting menu. Very well. Please listen carefully.

We will begin with a tasting biscuit. The biscuit is small, roughly the size of a man’s thumbnail, and will be even smaller when split in half by the biscuit knife. The flavor of the biscuit, infused with fennel and East European herbs, will be striking, perhaps even shocking, and may remind you of a moment of betrayal in your life. Additionally, it will cleanse your mouth.

Salt & Peppy

The menu will then continue with a lemon-zest soup. Served in a bronze ladle that is suspended over a black-and-white photograph of a revolver, the soup is a cream-based “architectural” broth that is simmered over low heat with fresh lemon zest and Sargasso Sea salt. Upon reaching the bottom of the ladle, you will find two inscriptions, one of which will reveal one of your most closely guarded and embarrassing secrets to your dining partner, and vice versa. A two-minute moment of silent reflection will immediately follow these revelations, during which you must maintain unblinking eye contact or the menu will cease.

You will not remember how the salad appeared in front of you. No matter. Quickly choose one of three available salad forks. One will be carved from lumber that has been illegally removed from the Russian taiga, one will be made of metal melted down from shell casings fired across the Strait of Gibraltar, and one will be made of shadows. Choose wisely and your salad will taste of otherworldly spring roughage that seems almost to melt beneath the light touch of a boiled-kale vinaigrette and the finest possible dusting of cinnamon. Choose poorly and you will be blinded for life.

The flavor of the biscuit, infused with fennel and East European herbs, will be striking, perhaps even shocking, and may remind you of a moment of betrayal in your life. Additionally, it will cleanse your mouth.

One last piece must be delivered before the main course. Though a Tunisian quiche is traditionally served on a ceramic plate and encircled with a heavily spiced mustard, our Tunisian quiche will be served with a demon. Should you and your partner successfully capture and eliminate the demon, by whatever means necessary, you will have earned the right to eat the Tunisian quiche, which has been known to provide visions of the future and will be topped with a yogurt sauce. Should you fail to capture the demon, it will harvest your souls.

Assuming success on your quiche course, you will then be asked to completely undress for the main course, should you survive the fire that will engulf your table during the interim.

Tonight’s tasting menu will feature a main course of ashes. Drizzled with Phoenician honey and served in a large bowl made of tungsten, our ashes can be a challenging dish for even the most dedicated epicure. After your server places the dish and instructs you on how to wear your sharkskin gloves properly, he will add four additional chairs around the charred remains of your table. Over the course of the meal, you and your partner will each be required to move to the chair to your right after every fifth bite and recite an ancient Zoroastrian prayer before starting again. If eaten with reluctance and disgust, your ashes will taste like ashes and, furthermore, you will experience the sensation that your single most feared animal or creature is feeding voraciously on your face. However, if eaten with appreciation and vigor, your ashes will taste of the engorged teat of Mother Earth herself. The lesser diner will be fed to the house Kraken.

The surviving diner will then enjoy a dessert wine and a cheese plate and will, of course, be served with the bill, which will be astoundingly expensive.

At this point, I assume that you are no longer interested in tonight’s tasting menu. Your server will return momentarily to…

You are interested?

You’re sure?

Well, then. Let’s begin.

Lucas Klauss hails from Georgia and lives in Brooklyn. He reads books with names like Lacrosse Firestorm for a living. His work can be found at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Apiary, and

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