This weekend, Kvitka and I (along with a six of our friends) decided to try out O’Noir for her birthday dinner. The restaurant boasts a setting that allows diners a look into the world of the visually impaired. Essentially diners eat in the dark and by dark, I mean as dark as the inside of a closet on a dark night. Creepy but accurate IMHO.
Right from the start, let me just say that I loved the experience. As a claustrophobic person it took a great deal to get adjusted to total and utter darkness but once I heard other tables across the room, I realized that this was the same as any other dining room (except for the no lights thing). The procedure was to order ahead of time in a dimly lit sitting room that was decorated in a very gothic or darker style. Whatever it was, the decor worked really well for the restaurant.
Our blind server, Dave, then led us into the dining area and assured us there were no steps or cell phones allowed. He was very nice and comforting especially because the darkness was such a shock to us all. After being seated he brought us our water and a bread. We proceeded to wait for half an hour before those who ordered appetizers received them. Only three out of the 8 of us ordered starters.
Then the wait continued until the drinks arrived and then, after an hour and a forty five minutes we finally had our mains delivered. Warning: I was really very hungry and so were the others which is a factor that might have clouded our judgement of the food. I have a sneaking suspicion that the food was quite mediocre but I just devoured it. I ordered the surprise main but it turns out that the surprise main is just another main from the menu that they select for you.
Knives and forks have no real place in O’Noir. The rule is, what you can’t stab with your fork, grab with your fingers. This means we were eating with our hands at a fancy restaurant, something we all found amusing and very fun. The desserts arrived quite quickly after and I have to say, my chocolate mousse was delicious. During the wait time the whole room joined us in singing Happy Birthday to Kvitka and the later, to another person at another table. Dave then joined us during dessert to lead us in singing to the two birthday girls again which means by the end of the night, we had sung the birthday song three times to the same two people. By the time we left, it was about ten in the night. This isn’t too bad until you remember that we made reservations for 6:45 in the evening.
Overall it was a really amazing experience but not one I think I’ll repeat again. For what it’s worth, I thought Dave was an excellent server and a really nice person. I also empathize a lot more with the visually impaired. But the wait times are a real killer and I honestly would prefer to pay the same prices elsewhere and get my food a little faster.
Have you ever been to O’Noir or tried anything like it? Let us know in the comments below!
Until next time,