The first person I met at Absurdity, the launch of Underground Eats at the McKittrick Hotel, was Salvador Dali–who said hello while donning a scuba outfit replete with flippers. He would shortly greet the crowd with naked ladies on his arm. Next up was Albert Einstein, who told me he was baffled by a new equation, e=mc? and wondered if I could help him out.

The adherence to alter ego and period costume at the event rivaled the theatrical and culinary extravanganza at the sumptuous feast, which included a procession of suckling pig, chefs chucking oysters with a chainmail glove, and a mermaid posed seductively with lobsters and seaweed. Chef Marc Murphy (chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants) concocted period-inspired plates at interactive stations throughout the McKittrick, and 1930s-era cocktails flowed. The sounds of the incredible musical acts whirled through the air between rooms and in the VIP room in the basement, surrealism had its fullest incarnation. With a host of Christmas trees amidst winter temperatures, I was still figuring out if we were outside or inside, in the middle of summer or fall, when Dali reappeared to create a tableau of naked women and handed out his manifesto.

It was an auspicious beginning for Underground Eats, which has proved it can navigate between a nostalgia for an era gone by and a new avant garde culinary experience for a wide audience. Enjoy this photo essay, warning not all is safe for work.

The bar in the lounge area, just before the event started:

One of the main attractions, the “mermaid”-like model (she’s real!) who sat and drank amongst the seafood:

One of the many specialty cocktails:

Salvador Dali, preparing for his art installation:

The VIP Room:

Lobster adorning the McKittrick Hotel decor:

Details in the McKittrick:

The incredible music in the lounge area:

A welcome to the event by Underground Eats, with shout outs to Mayor Laguardia, the police commissioner and other 1930s-era folks:

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.