Dinner in the dark: New Manhattan restaurant serves meals in pitch black and is staffed by blind people
A Manhattan restaurant serving unidentified food to guests who dine in complete darkness will offer New Yorkers an altogether more mysterious dining experience when it opens next week.
Pushing the boundaries of sensory experiences, Dans Le Noir guests will be served by blind or partially-sighted people in a room where everything besides plates is black.
And with so much of New York”s restaurant culture based upon the atmosphere of a restaurant”s interior, presentation of food, attractive clientle and suave waitering staff, the disorientating experience will be a first for many in the notoriously picky food scene.
Night vision: The Dans Le Noir concept started in Paris – shown above, lit for photography – and will next week open a branch in New York”s Midtown
The original – and very successful – Dans Le Noir opened in Paris eight years ago, and outposts have followed in St Petersburg, Barcelona and London. All have been hailed as offering “eye-opening” ventures.
Edouard de Broglie, the chief executive of the group behind the chain, told the New York Times that clients find the multi-course dinner, costing between $43 and $79, a “totally surprising experience.”
Ensuring the all-enveloping cover of darkness – and no cheating – guests are not allowed to take mobile phones, watches or any other devices that might pierce the blackness of the Midtown dining room.
During dinner, guests sit opposite their dining partners but next to strangers, all adding to the unfamiliarity and obscurity.
The unorthodox meal challenges people”s perceptions of food and taste and hammers home just how important sight is to eating and judging meals.
“After dinner we show them photos of whatthey ate and they can’t believe it… they confuse veal and tuna, white and red wine”
“After dinner we show them photos of what they ate and the menu, and they can’t believe it. They might get the difference between carrots and peas, but they confuse veal and tuna, white and red wine,” Mr de Broglie told the Times.
While giving fully-sighted people a minute taste of life without vision, the unusual dinner format also gives the visually impaired a chance to work as waiters, with Vision Services for the Blind and vision loss charity Lighthouse helping to provide staff.
Fashionable Manhattanites, take note: While the chefs helpfully remove pits, bones and fat and do not go in for teetering stacks and awkward-to-deconstruct presentations, the logistics make for messy dining.
According to the newspaper, guests need to sign a waiver regarding stains from errantly dolloped sauces and target-misses.
“We suggest that people not wear their finest… We provide regular napkins, not bibs,” said Mr de Broglie.