Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Thoughts | Dark Table

Have you ever heard of the restaurant downtown called Dark Table? Neither had I - until my momma bought Edwin & I a Groupon for Christmas this year! Wait until you read about it. It's a restaurant where you dine entirely in the dark. Edwin & I went last Friday night and let me tell you, it was quite the experience! It was dark. Like pitch black darkness. I cannot even begin to explain how dark it was - we could not see ONE thing. I could close my eyes or have them open and see the exact same thing.

Let me back up a bit pre-darkness. When you get there, you are in a lit area where you are given menus and order your drinks, appetizers, entrees, and desserts. (or any combination of the above, but you order it all at once is my point) Then, they call your server out to the lit area, and the servers are all blind or visually impaired. Your server is your guide for the night. Elias, our server, instructed me to put my hands on his shoulder and then for Edwin to put his hands on my shoulders. We then walked to our table, and he helped us sit down. It is amazing how much you have to feel and touch your surroundings when you cannot see them. Also, you can really hear everything that is going on around you quite well. Your other senses definitely kick in when you can't see. And again, I need to reiterate to you just HOW dark it was. It was BLACK. I actually found that I kept closing my eyes, just at random times for quite a while, and I'm not sure why. It just felt normal since I couldn't see anything anyways! Also, it felt quite straining since I was trying to see something, anything, with my eyes open; but never could.

Elias brought us some bread to start, and Edwin and I had to find our butter and butter knife to butter our bread. (it's really quite amusing buttering bread in the dark...) Then, we got a starter, which turned out to be a salad. They tell you at the beginning that it the starter is a surprise, so I had to clarify with the hostess who took our orders initially that it didn't include meat. The whole time we ate the salad, we kept trying to figure out what was in it. I think there was some quinoa in it, and maybe some fruit? There was definitely tomatoes in it, and the dressing was a vinaigrette of some sort. I really enjoyed it! Every time Elias brought us a new course or a drink, he would guide our hands to where it was. It was a strange feeling having my hand touched so often by my server - that is not something you are used to when you are not visually impaired.

I had ordered the garlic prawns with a lemon risotto and seasonal vegetables; and Edwin had ordered stuffed chicken. When the entrees came, we both felt like our physical plates were very large. I'm curious if they actually were larger than average plates, or it was just us noticing their size upon not seeing them. I really enjoyed my prawns and risotto. It was awkward finding each item on your plate, since you don't know where they are, and you never quite know what you will be eating next! I have to admit, I ended up using my hands a bit to find things or to tell if I was done my meal. I was quite proud of myself for not spilling the whole time, but upon exiting the restaurant I learned that wasn't the case sadly...

Overall, this was a very, very unique experience and I think that everyone should experience it at least once! I do feel like once you experience it once, there isn't a need to go back since it's hard to justify mentally that you are eating in the pitch black as opposed to a "normal" lit restaurant. It is really somewhere to go for the experience and make a night out of it. Plus, the menu isn't very large. Again, the experience was totally, totally worth it, don't get me wrong. It really makes you recognize that we take for granted our vision. I can't remember where I read this, but I read that the unemployment rate for visually impaired people is 70%. That really surprised me, and again really makes you realize how for granted we take it that we can easily get jobs comparatively.

You should go!

If you want to see some photos, read here for a review on Foodology.ca.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting Shannon, glad you enjoyed the experience. Carissa and I might have to try this one day.

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    1. Super interesting - you guys would totally love this experience. I recommend buying the Groupon though as otherwise it's a bit expensive! :)

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