O Noir is AMAZING! To begin with, they only employ blind waiters. These waiters learn the layout of the restaurant to bring you all you need. As you enter the restaurant you are taken to a small waiting room. Once your table is ready they take you behind a curtain and into the restaurant. The restaurant itself is pitch black. You literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.
As you are guided by the blind waiter/waitress you eventually make it to your table. The waiter asks you to summon them if you need anything, such as a guide to the restroom (the restroom is not pitch black).
The O Noir Menu
The menu is great with lots of delicious options. To keep things simple you preorder your meal. You can choose anything from beef dishes to rabbit dishes or grilled chicken. They have starters, main dishes, and desserts.
If you find this too complicated you have the option to choose a “surprise” option. This means they chose an appetizer, main dish, and dessert for you and you guess what you’re eating.
I was feeling adventurous and chose that option. I’m not afraid of food, I eat everything and I thought it would be fun to guess what I was eating.
As my appetizer arrived, the waiter placed it in front of me and guided me to my utensils. “If you need anything, please call me by name and I will come help you.” he said. He placed the dish in front of my partner and told him what he ordered. “A house salad for you,” and walked away.
Me and my partner made small talk as we ate, the usual dinner conversation. However, we were in complete darkness. It’s weird. I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t see my food. Closing my eyes would result in the same experience. We talked about the interesting nature of eating in the dark.
I couldn’t figure out what I was eating, only that it was breaded. What was it? It’s deep fried. It’s got a gooey inside. I can’t tell what the filling is… The flavor was good, I just cannot figure out what it is… I thought my sense of taste would heighten in the dark. Perhaps I was eating something I’ve never eaten before?
Interesting. Fun. Unique. I was loving this experience.
My second dish arrived and I was eager. As it arrived, I dove in. I wanted to taste what I couldn’t see. I wanted to guess what my next mystery dish is about. My coordination began failing me. Since I couldn’t see my food, much less where it was, or even if it was on my fork, I started dropping my food on my lap, on the table. I was a mess. I felt like an infant that couldn’t eat. I am that child you don’t take to restaurants because they make a mess. I gathered my strength and tried again. I pierced my food with my fork and aimed for my mouth.
To my surprise, you need hand-eye coordination to find your mouth because I managed to graze my cheek with whatever was on my fork before it entered my mouth. I’m so glad no one can see me now. If the light were on, I’d be that guy who has food all over his face and clothes.
My food is cold. Not tepid. Not cold as in they didn’t warm it up enough. It’s a cold dish. I savored it. I tasted it again. I got a few spices, maybe some lemon juice. It tasted a bit like tuna salad. Perhaps it is tuna salad.
I ordered some water to go along with my cocktail and my food and we proceeded with the experience.
They brought out dessert.
Excited as usual I stuck my fork in the dish and began eating. It was something I knew all too well. It was smooth. Fluffy. It was room temperature. Chocolate, it had to be. I knew this for sure. What kind of chocolate dish? I couldn’t tell you. All I knew was the flavor.
As our experience came to an end the waiter told me my surprise dishes. I had eaten: chicken and cheese croquettes, beef tartar, and a chocolate moose dessert.
These are three things I love and eat often. However, I was surprised I couldn’t figure out the first two.
The entire experience was great. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
Let me break it down for you:
- It’s a flat rate per person of $36 or $42 CAD depending on how many courses you want…
- By reservation only
- You eat in complete darkness
- Once in a lifetime experience
- All the waiters are blind
- regular menu
- surprise menu: they bring out three dishes unknown to you and you try to guess what it is…
The restaurant aims to show you and raise awareness for the blind and disabilities in general. It’s a great concept and the fact that they hire people with disabilities makes it worth supporting.
Do I recommend O Noir? ABSOLUTELY! It’s a lot of fun. They now have one in Toronto!
Wanna check it out? Here is their website: http://www.onoir.com