Torture on the Green

| 16 Feb 2015 | 04:19

    Which is merely to say that LeRoy's Tavern on the Green's launched an interactive website? which you can secure meal reservations in "real time," whatever that means in this context. It's with a certain perverse satisfaction that we note the curious fact that?if indeed the Tavern manages to live up in this case to its fastidiously cultivated image as an environment characterized by the most sublime and exuberant human cruelty?a restaurant, of all things, will birth into the anarchic Web world what will arguably amount to the most alienating and violently offensive page in the cyberculture's young history of gutter pornography, snuff content and pure, unctuous kiddie-porn smut. Menus, the restaurant's wine list, special events notices, employment news, pictures of the restaurant's vulgar dining rooms and other material is available on the site.

    In addition, reservations will be confirmed immediately by e-mail. Thus will you find yourself locked on the spot into that abusive black humoresque of vicious service, stale breadcrusts and methodical humiliation (from the moment you're seated to begin your brutal dining passion until, at meal's end, you're liberated with a final kick in the ass into the embracing night, and good riddance to you) with which tourists and family holiday parties have long expressed familiarity when conversation turns to that lushly decorated converted carriage house at Central Park's edge. Dead-end suckers and serious pain aficionados can also place reservations in the more traditional manner, by calling 873-3200.

    Autumn's not only when your football-enthusiasts friends here at Soup to Nuts start considering whether or not to jump into the football pool up at Timboo's pub in Park Slope. It's also truffle season, when the dear fungi get rooted up good and fat, and when the Italian Culinary Institute can be excused for holding a White Truffle Festival, which consists this year of six cooking demonstrations and truffle-laced dinners on the Institute's lower-5th Ave. premises. Each night's dinner will be hosted by chefs from different excellent restaurants?or, in one case, from a trio of restaurants. Tuesday, Oct. 19: Osteria del Circo. Wednesday, Oct. 20: I Trulli, Tuscan Square and Sette MOMA. Thursday, Oct. 21: Nobu. Tuesday, Oct. 26: Cafe Boulud. Wednesday, Oct. 27: March. Thursday, Oct. 28: Il Mulino.

    The menus are predictably luxurious. March's Wayne Nish, for instance, is serving a galette of porcini, white truffle and Tallegio cheese with puff pastry and sweet onion marmalade. Also a shirred egg with white truffle and fingerling potatoes. The dinners cost $100 for Institute members; $150 for nonmembers. The price includes tips, taxes, an antipasto platter, wines, liquors and dessert. For reservations, call Geraldine Filippi at 725-8764, ext. 25.

    The sixth-annual James Beard Mediterranean Culinary Festival occurs this Thursday and Friday, from 11 in the morning until 7 p.m. both days, in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. (Which are those two really, really tall, gray identical rectangular towers that loom iconically over Tribeca, George Tabb's extremely luxurious neighborhood down there on the southern tip of Manhattan.) What the Festival is is this: a bunch of good restaurants, Les Halles, O Padeiro, Pao! and the Park Avenue Cafe among them, will offer Portuguese-inflected dishes (it's stressed that each dish will "incorporate olive oil") at stands in that vast, stark, modernist space; there will occur book-signings and demonstrations by well-known chefs. Food and wine tickets can be purchased at the event for one dollar each, with most dishes selling for under five dollars.

    Participating chefs from all over the country are sequestered in gymnasiums in grim training even as we write, their brows beading with the sweat of exertion as they work their salad-tossing wrists, developing with weight-work and great discipline the forearm muscles they'll need to dominate the Great American Salad Toss, an event that occurs for the fourth time annually on Monday, Oct. 11, at the W Hotel in midtown.

    Actually it's not merely a tossing competition, but rather a salad-preparation tourney, with participants competing to see what bold and prodigious new salads they can loose upon the Earth. Participants include: Marc Vetri, of Vetri, a restaurant in Philadelphia; Andy Nusser from Babbo; and Miles Angelo of Aspen's gracefully named Caribou Club. "National food celebrities"?which seem, a bit disappointingly, mostly to amount to people who write for food magazines?will sit in judgment of the contestants. The agonistes' salads will be ranked according to presentation, workmanship, originality and taste. "Anticipation," we're told?and we believe them!?"will build as qualification progresses toward a series of rounds that name the winning chefs." The W Hotel's actually set aside a number of rooms at the special event rate of $79, as if the Duchess of Windsor were getting married and the working-class dames and scurvy, colorless old royals fetishists were bussing in from council flats with electric fires in East Grinstead. One of these talented fellows will win a trip for two to the Sandals & Beaches Resort in Jamaica.

    Tickets for this event cost $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Guests will receive a plate from which to eat the resultant salads and a glass from which to drink wine. Call (215) 731-2000 or go to

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