By Megan Harlan
Updated April 24, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

A former violinist, restaurateur Lang views eateries as performance spaces and food as artful entertainment. His blithe, theatrical sensibility has flavored restaurants since the ’50s (he owns Manhattan’s Cafe des Artistes) and also infuses this convivial memoir, Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen. But before dishing up victual-related vignettes — on parties for the Pope, creating Chocolate Chili, and originating the Four Seasons’ all-black ”breakup” dinner, where the unsuspecting dumpee is served inky cuttlefish on ebony china — Lang divulges his terrifying adolescence. In 1940s Hungary, he survived a labor camp and later fled the country through a live minefield — adding a powerful dimension to his world-is-my-banquet story. B