A ver si podemos mantener el paso de estos golfeados de maple que estamos cocinando...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dining in the Dark

We spent last weekend in Montreal, and we decided to try O. Noir, a restaurant where you have dinner in total darkness.

A quick explanation of what the restaurant is:
- You get to the restaurant and order your food before you enter the main room
- Then, you are guided to your table by your waiter (most of them are visually impaired)
- The main room, where you spend all your dining time, is pitch black. No lights, no cell phones, no nothing. Black. Open or close your eyes, its pretty much the same.

The experience was really interesting. My highlights were:

  1. I had to trust my waiter, because he guides you everywhere you need to go.
  2. It was an exercise in patience, because when you needed something you call your waiter by name, hope he heard you, and wait.
  3. The food was pretty good, particularly the beef strogonoff. The mushrooms were amazing. And yes, you experience the food in a totally different level - smells, tastes, touch. I invite you to cut and eat a piece of meat without seeing it; the result is almost always eating with your hands :)
  4. It was also an experience in concentration. I found when you don't have visual cues, you need to concentrate in the voices of the people talking to you much more intensely. Also, I tended to lean towards people to hear better, and towards food when eating.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, it was an exercise in adaptation. There were a couple things that bothered me, mostly the noise around me (people tent to speak louder when they cant see each other) and having pain in my back from leaning. Then I realized that we need to adapt to really enjoy the experience. There will always be small things that bother us. Most importantly, people who live in darkness all the time find hundreds of things that bother them or that they cant enjoy. The only way to enjoy life is to learn to adapt to those things, and concentrate on the ones you do enjoy.

Overall, it was a very positive experience. I strongly recommend anyone near a similar restaurant to give it a try (there are a few in north america and europe now i believe). Some will like it, some won't, but its surely an interesting experience.