On the last night Roxy’s parents were in town, we made reservations for C-Taste. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a “dining in the dark” restaurant. It was a place that my wife and I had wanted to try for a while, and her parents seemed intrigued.
When you arrive, you are asked to put your coats, cell-phones, and any other light-emitting devices into a locker. From there, the maitre d’ sits you down in a dimly lit lounge and explains how the restaurant works. The waiters are all visually impaired, so they are used to working where they cannot see. There is no menu, but you can tell the maitre d’ if you’d prefer no fish, no meat, or have any allergies. I choose no fish, and Roxy specified that she couldn’t have strawberries.
The waiter came out, and instructed me to put my hand on his shoulder. He led us through several layers of curtains, and around a corner, into complete darkness. Once we arrived at our table, he took each of us by the hand and directed us where to sit. The experience was somewhat surreal. I felt the table in front of me and found my silverware and napkin. Nothing else was on the table.
The meal is 3 courses, plus we were given 2 additional small plates with a few bites of food. You are not told what the food is, and not everybody gets the same thing. When the waiter brings the small plates, he holds them over your shoulder, and you must reach up and get them. The first time I did this, I put my fingers right into the food. It was cold and slimy like applesauce. It turned out to be some sort of gourd/squash that had been pureed. A bottle of water was brought to our table with glasses. Pouring water is difficult when you can’t see, so we stuck our fingers into the top of the glass, and poured until we could feel the water. Somehow, we managed to not spill anything. The same couldn’t be said for the table next to us, who evidently knocked over at least 1 glass of beer.
My first course was a cold steak. It proved to be impossible to cut with a fork and knife, so I just stabbed it with my fork and took bites out of it that way. So much for table manners when nobody can see you!
Overall, the food proved to be pretty good, and the experience was different. Your fingers will get dirty. There isn’t really a good way to tell when you have finished your plate, so I resorted to feeling around with my fingers sometimes. Then I’d discover an extra green bean or bit of ice cream still on my plate.
Being in pitch black for over an hour was a little unsettling. We had visited De Zotte, a Belgian beer bar, the night before, and I had enjoyed a fair number of high-alcohol beers. My chair in the restaurant had one leg slightly shorter than the other, so it kept rocking back and forth. That, plus the darkness, plus my hangover from the night before made me a little queasy. I had to close my eyes and sit still to avoid feeling nautious.
Overall, it was definitely an experience I won’t soon forget. The food was good, but not great. I would go back if somebody else wanted to go, but I can’t say it would be my first choice for dining out again.