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Posts Tagged ‘eating in the dark’

Many of us have seen restaurants sans light on television – Ramsay showed one as an award and even our Rock of Love (Brett Michaels) brought some of his many dates to such an establishment.  The restaurant in both of these shows was named Opaque (check out the Dining Room section on their website).  A temporary lights-out restaurant was created here in February and now we have our own (it opened Thursday evening on Church street near Bloor) named O. Noir.

The concept is simple for those new to it – you enter a dining room with absolutely no light.  O. Noir actually insists in disarming you of any light emitting devices (such as a cell phone or watch) – which they store in a locked safe for you.  The side advantage of being able to eat without the prattle of cell phone conversations and click click sounds of people texting is an interesting offer!

Your order is requested in a dimly lit hallway before entering.  A starter, main and dessert will set you back $39 – they also offer a full wine list and other beverages.  I think I’d want a sippy cup to avoid a giant mess.

The name of the restaurant is O.Noir – they have had a Montreal location for three years.

Critics complain that the focus is too much on the “gimmick” as opposed to food.  Supporters say that the darkness makes the food that much better by allowing you to focus on taste and smell.  Users reactions seem to be split on variations of these lines (such as suggestive posts hinting at what other distractions may exist in a room full of people in the dark) or staunchly defending the concept as an elevation of culinary experience.  I have been able to find very few specific mentions of the food itself – and that isn’t necessarily a condemnation.

The second piece of discussion that tends to divide people is the policy of hiring blind waiters and waitresses.  There is a big deal made about this which upsets some people.  O.Noir certainly provides a great opportunity for those who are visually impaired to work (all members on the  service team share this ability) – however some people feel they make too big a deal about this.  After all, a visually impaired served can serve in a fully lit room as well as a dark room.  If the part of the purpose is to get people talking about the issues of finding employment when suffering from vision loss, they certainly have had people discussing and challenged them to think about it.

The restaurant seats almost 100 people divided amongst 3 rooms and the average experience lasts around 2 hours.

I’m wondering if I’d be allowed to bring my night vision goggles as they emit no light?  I suppose that would break the rules and I’d leave them at home – after all, when in Rome…

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