Dine in the Dark.
I was skeptical. REAL skeptical. I couldn't imagine that which I was about to partake. Dine...in the Dark? It seemed like a novel idea, but I wasn't quite ready for the experience at Blackout Las Vegas.
There are a number of these concepts popping up over the world and the premise is simple. How does your dining experience change if it's in total darkness?
The first thing you have to accept is that this isn't your traditional restaurant. There is no menu to choose from - for a set price, you'll experience a 90 minute, seven course meal experience, where you don't know what you are going to be served. Allergy considerations are gathered prior to seating, and your individual menu is adjusted accordingly.
Next, you're led into the room by a hostess wearing real night vision goggles, and you'll hold hands with them to be seated since you're walking in a completely dark environment. After he or she guides you to your table, you're immediately thrown off guard as you realize you must first even feel around to find your chair to sit down, let alone carefully explore the plate and silverware arrangements and your various glasses in front of you.
About three minutes into the experience, you'll start to feel weird - really weird. Your hearing will become more acute because, aside from touch and smell, you realize that it's one of your only senses left to help understand your environment. I'll be honest that there's also a slight experience of dread and panic as you realize that you feel slightly trapped in a dark space in which you aren't familiar and can't see your surroundings. But don't worry - that will settle. You'll soon become accustomed to your environment and start to open up more to the experience.
The server presents your food course by course, explains what it is and the best way to eat it. The biggest challenge for me was trying to find the edges of the dish and where the food was positioned. There were a few times where my fork met my mouth with no food on it as I realized I had to more carefully move across my plate to find remaining food. And, don't forget to move slowly to your beverages, because it's easy to knock them over. Slow, careful, and relaxed is the key to enjoying this experience. And, you'll find that you have a heightened sense of smell and taste as you enjoy your dinner without a predisposition of the perception of the dish from your sense of sight.
One additional thing to note is the importance of who you're with and the conversation you'll have. In today's world, we often forget the importance of human interaction at the dinner table, and without sight and a cell phone in your pitch black environment, you realize that verbal communication is the only communication you're going to give and receive at this meal.
The food and service were excellent, and overall it's an experience I enjoyed, although I'm not sure I would make it a regular occurrence simply from the strange feeling of visual deprivation. It's definitely an experience that everyone should try - if nothing else, you will learn to appreciate having all of your senses available to you at your next meal.
For your convenience, I included a video at the top of this blog for Blackout Las Vegas. What do you think? Would you try it?