This past Sunday, I went to Dans Le Noir; a restaurant where the waitstaff are all blind and you experience what they experience while you eat- in the pitch dark. I had bought a coupon for us from Groupon during the summer but with school and work we only had the chance to go now (3 days before the coupon expired-phew!) I had been very excited to go but also a bit wary since I didn’t know how I would react once I was in the room.
Located close to St Laurent metro, Dans Le Noir offers diners a very unique experience. When you first arrive, you are welcomed in a lobby where you put your coats away and put your purses and valuables in a locker. You are then able to look over the menu and give a waiter your order.
When they are ready, your name is called and this is when the real experience begins. You meet your waiter, (we had a gentleman named Ricardo-very nice) and she/he then leads you into the room. You have to hold onto his shoulder and listen to where he tells you to go since you can’t see AT ALL. He seats you at your table, then tells you where your utensils are on the table.
Right away, you notice that you start to speak louder while you slowly adjust to the fact that you can’t even see your hand in front of you. The staff promptly brings you a drink (sangria made with white wine) and soon after your appetizer. For the full menu, go here.
I chose to have the caprese salad and Anthony had the crabcake. It was so strange how even though you may have had that meal numerous times throughout your life- it tastes different. Anthony said his crabcake almost tasted like mashed potatoes.
Something that took some time to get used to was the fact that you couldn’t see your food, nor where you were cutting! You just had to hope that you were doing an okay enough job to not be making a mess on the table, your lap or your face. It definitely added a comedic tone to the whole thing.
For the main course, I had the Veal Scalopini and Ant had the filet mignon, both of which were tasty and had a side of vegetables and potatoes. We decided to order a half a bottle of the house wine and it accompanied the meal very well.
We finished it off with dessert; I had the Chocolate Mousse which I am still craving and Ant had the Cheese Cake. By this time, I was greatly enjoying the experience. It was as though time and space did not exist- you almost felt like you, yourself did not exist anymore- it was surreal.
Once you are finished, you are led back into the light filled lobby to get your jacket and adjust to being able to see again. We had seen many people come out looking squinty eyed with food on their shirts but Ant and I had done alright! I had made it through the whole meal with my knife and fork and Ant well- he enjoyed it all with his hands which is perfectly fine! Who would know right?
Overall, it is an experience that I believe everyone should partake in. I’ve always had much respect for the blind but after this- it really sinks in how different living is for them and the respect increases. I loved the experience so much I wish I could go all the time. For those of you who think, “Just eat at home with all of the lights turned off..” it is NOT the same thing. Leave your house, away from all of your electronic devices, all of the noise created by the machines you may have, just disconnect- it really is an amazing experience. I could not stop staying it throughout the whole night- it really is just simply amazing.