Breathe, relax and follow me: Dining in the dark, a catharsis of the senses.
At this point in my life, I’m pretty much over the club scene. For my recent birthday, instead of doing that, I told my roommate Gaby I wanted to do something different and exciting. So we went to Dark Table, a restaurant that offers a unique way to heighten your senses: dining in the absolute dark.
Here’s how it works: there are only two service times during weekends- one at 5:45pm, and the other at 8:45pm. Since we wanted to go to a bar afterwards (yes, I still like bars, just not clubs), we went to the 5:45pm serving. Upon arrival, we were given the choice of knowing exactly what we’d be having for dinner. We could choose our meal off their menu or, we could choose the surprise of the day. Feeling adventurous, but not THAT adventurous, both Gaby and I decided to have a surprise starter, but we chose our main courses. I had ravioli, and she had beef tenderloin.
Once we placed our order, we were directed to the front door where our visually impaired waiter, Leo, welcomed us to the restaurant. Even though he explained it would be extremely dark inside, Gaby and I were still quite skeptical about not being able to see at all; I mean, we thought we would probably still be able to see a bit. Well…we were wrong. OH SO WRONG. To the point were she held her hand 5 inches away from my face and I still couldn’t see a-ny-thing.
At first, we couldn’t help but giggle and comment on how different it all felt. After a while, even though I personally never got used to the lack of light, I didn’t feel as strange. The sense I felt heightened the most was my hearing. While people were sitting not too far away from us, I imagined they would probably be sitting as close as in any other restaurant; however, because I couldn’t see them but I could definitely hear them, they somehow felt closer than they probably were. I honestly can say that I could hear pretty much everyone’s conversations that night – regardless of how far or close they were sitting to us.
Later, when our food came, I had the hardest time putting butter on my bread. Despite the fact that Leo showed us (by making us feel) where everything was located on the table, not being able to see what I was doing was kind of laugh-worthy at first, but afterwards, when I was struggling to finish eating my main course, I couldn’t help but to feel frustrated. This is when I started having mixed feelings, and I comprehended what’s the point of having dining experience restaurants like this one.
In today’s society, we are so focused on the visual impact something causes, that we inevitably neglect the rest of our senses. Not only that, but we are completely taking for granted the fact that WE HAVE all of our senses – the problem is, we are not taking advantage of them.
So, next time the weather’s nice and you decide to walk home from school, put your phone away and look up. ADMIRE the scenery around you, SMELL the trees, FEEL the breeze of the Victoria wind, LISTEN to the sound the wind makes through the trees and contrast it to the sound of your pace; get a TASTE of what being in the West Coast is all about. Be happy, be grateful, be aware and use your senses to take it aaaaaall in.
PS – While I highly recommend going to Dark Table, keep in mind that it’s not for everyone. It’s a very emotionally, mentally and physically intense experience that will inevitably cause some mixed emotions, but if you’re up for the challenge, by all means, make a reservation!