_watchtower_ (_watchtower_) wrote,

The Dark Night

Ever since I got back from England, I've been feeling a little bit like Buffy after she got back from being...y'know*.
Good things have, in fact, been happening to me. Here're some of them:

Sat. Oct. 13 Part One: O Noir
An old high school friend was turning 25 and a group of us headed to O Noir for a meal. They have two sittings and we opted for the 9pm slot. Perhaps a mistake, but whatever. For anyone who isn't familiar, O Noir is one of the best gimmick restaurants Montreal has to offer. The shtick is to eat in darkness. Like, complete, can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face darkness. And get this, the waiters are all blind! Isn't that cute? I've never had a problem with the dark, but I do sometimes have issues with control and I figured being blind in a room full of strangers would be...well a good test. Turned out to be fine. Weird, but fine. And loud, very very loud. That was the most difficult bit. The room, as far as I could guess, was a big hall in a cafeteria arrangement and at 9 on a Saturday, simply full of people.

Each dinner party meets in the lobby, tucks their belongings into lockers and then forms a train behind their waiter/guide who is fashionably decked out in dark sunglasses. Through one series of doors, then another and into the eating area where you're instructed to feel for your seat, plate, napkin, etc. When the food arrives, your waiter places a hand on your shoulder and passes it to you. I have never had so much trouble buttering a piece of bread, ever. I opted for a "surprise" appetizer and the marinated shrimp on sun-dried tomato risotto. And green beans. I wasn't aware there would be green beans, and stabbed myself in the face with "mystery sticks" a couple of times before I clued in. There was also a ball of something..about the size of an eye...which I ate after some considerable hesitation. It tasted like a carrot and some cauliflower decided to get it on one night, but I still have no idea what it was. I figure that was part of the thing.

That night I appreciated my sense of smell more than at any other meal. When the rolls first arrived it was like being smacked in the face by "bread scent." Quite interesting. Less so with the main dish, but then sun-dried tomato and marinated shrimp is a more complex bouquet...

Also curious was how unselfconscious one becomes of your body movements. I didn't engage in any not-suitable-for-public scratching, but I did keep my eyes closed for a few minutes as I spoke to my neighbor, and even gave in to the urge to doze a little. And..I may also have picked my teeth. But no one ever knew. Very liberating.

I've always wondered what it's like to go through a daily routine when you're blind. This wasn't close. For one thing, being blind doesn't remove you from public scrutiny. But it did give me a better vocabulary with which to begin contemplating that reality.

Emerging into the lobby at the end, the world went a little wonky before I felt my eyes normalize. I looked at the face of the girl who had been just a voice to me for an hour or so and felt a curious shock. Whether of recognition or of complete disregard for physical appearance, I couldn't tell.

So. Would I go back? No, probably not. For one, It's quite expensive 30$ for an appetizer and main (although they do have lunch sittings). Secondly, the amount of noise was quite unpleasant. And lastly? The food's not great.

However, I don't regret it at all. And if an O Noir virgin had a hankering to go, I'd say 'sure, do it!' and might even accompany them, just to see their reaction.

//_watchtower_ Restaurant Rating: Food: meh/5 Oo-Factor: 5/5 (there was a lot of oo, people. A lot of oo) Overall: 3/5,

Stay tuned for, "Part 2: Karaoke!" in which our humble, only slightly inebriated blogger breaks a lifelong vow!

*Don't worry. The Gods of Lame have already promised to smite me for that reference. Curiously, the Gods of Emo have given me some kind of medal..
Tags: food, picking yo teef, you gotta have a gimmick

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