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Welcome to the LARP


348 4th Ave, Brooklyn
MARCH 26, 2013




Larp may be an acronym for for “Live Action Roleplaying” but it's also the name of a chef who grew up in Bensonhurst, moved to the LES, and then quickly established herself as the frontwoman for Williamsburg's most delicious new restaurant. Her name is Larp Berman, and she cooks food like few people can and I might add, will.

Appetizers such as caviar knishes, and brussels sprouts so thoroughly roasted they’re practically candy, are so good you could eat them on their own, but the main courses are extraordinary. I ignore gnocchi or cassoulet at most resaurants, but Larp is a different story.

But while its food should be the main attraction, Larp's name draws an unusual mix: the well-clad pocket-square-and-beard / jeans-and-heels crowd, as well as a seemingly willfully uninformed contingency of weirdos.

“I was under the impression that all restaurants were required to have nachos” said a man, at least 30, dressed as a Klingon dressed as a viking, surveying the menu as if it were a fiefdom to be ruled by his vast collection of hand-painted metal minatures.

“I would not have guessed that you would have thought that,” said the hostess, with the dispassionate monotone that is now the rallying B-flat of a displeased Brooklyn.

“Would it be possible to order nachos even though they have been somehow overlooked on the menu?” asked Worf the Red.

“Don't you have to be on holodeck somewhere?” someone asked.

“I do. And when I rematerialize, I hope it will be with a bowl of nachos,” he responded.

Larp did not dissapoint — nachos with chunks of avocado, and tortillas that must have been made just minutes ago, and a tomatillo sauce.

I waited for him to text what must have been a message the length of the magna carta, probably about something JJ Abrams-related, so that I could sneak a chip, and let me tell you, it was worth his Klingon-swears when he caught me.

“I'm sschorry,” said a woman whose speech was slurred by her sizable vampire fangs, “I think these porschions are schlightly on the sschmall sschide.”

“They are in comparison to say, a truckstop buffet,” replied the waitress, “Although I could see if we could bring you some more. Would you like that?”

Yesch,” said the vampire, who resumed feasting off the blood of her sweet potato and squash gnocci. Just how she managed to say that with the fangs in is probably best not considered.

Still, not all were so easily appeased. When an angry table of five stormtroopers got up and threw their menus aside, storming out, I found myself worried about Larp’s future. But Larp herself was all smiles.

“Don't worry,” she said, when I expressed my concerns, “I know these folks. They just think it's fun to dress up and be somebody else.” The woman with the vampire fangs waggled her fingers at me and smiled. “She reads your column. You should check out her blog, it's all about spelt.”

“Itsch schalled—exchscuse me,” she said removing her fangs, “It's called Heart Spelt.”

The table of five stormtroopers returned, also smiling, and got down to business, ordering the roast pig, and, it seemed, any food with the head intact.

“You mean they’re all in on some sort of joke?” I asked. Larp nodded. “But they’re making fun of your name,” I said, thinking of the tepid ridicule that the name Pontious has wrought me.

“Ah,” said Larp, “The thing is, it’s not really my name. I used to go tagging and I would write ‘Larp’ on walls and things because I thought it was a neat version of my name, which is Lara. I stopped because I didn’t want to get into trouble, and people used to tease me, calling me Larp because I would get really nervous, you know, waiting for a cop to tap me on the shoulder. But then I just decided I liked it better.”


And so while it would seem that Larp is in danger of being overrun by nostalgia-driven dorks from out of town, it seems they’re really the same nostalgia-driven dorks who have been populating the neighborhood all along.

I have been fooled, soundly, and thusly I must shake my fist and exclaim: Damn you, Brooklyn: you’ve done it again.

Not to be outdone by such nerdly pageantry, I returned one evening dressed as Paul from Dune to see if it would affect the dining experience, because I love any excuse to talk about the Weirding Way and pronounce Quisatz H’aderach. Larp seemed to think that I might have lost my mind, so I returned as Data from Star Trek The Next Generation another night. Because people actually know who that is.

”Wait — don’t tell me,” the cabbie said, surveying my spandex costume and yellow contacts, “You're that guy from Twlight.” Yes, I am — now, to the holodeck! These nachos won’t stay warm forever.


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