The Post reported yesterday that Dans Le Noir?, the Paris-based restaurant chain that hires blind waiters to serve “surprise” menus to diners under the veil of total darkness, is planning to open a New York outpost. The chain, which was founded in 2004 with funding from the Paul Guinot Foundation for Blind People, has additional locations in London, Barcelona, and Moscow. Its owners are hoping to set up shop somewhere along the Bowery or in the East or West Village, and are looking for spaces with a minimum of 3,000 square feet. According to the company’s website, the restaurant is slated to open before the end of the year.
Though dining in the dark may be relatively novel here, the concept has been popular in Europe for at least several years: In 2000, a foundation for blind people opened Blinde Kuh in Zurich; a similar restaurant opened recently in Berlin. And since 1999, the Guinot Foundation has been holding “taste of darkness” events throughout France.
That’s all well and good, but what about the food? On the restaurant’s website, it’s described as “eclectic and innovative world food inspired by French Cuisine,” and grouped into four different “surprise” menus for meat eaters, vegetarians, seafood lovers, and those wanting the somewhat ominous sounding “chef’s surprise.”
One reviewer for London’s Daily Telegraph described the food another way. What he thought was “strips of smoked salmon and battered prawns” was actually “salmon sashimi with
pesto oil, crab spring roll,” while “lamb or beef mince moussaka” turned out to be “roasted filet of barracuda, rosemary dauphinois.”
Discrepancies there may be. But at least this isn’t a French import that’s asking us to suck beer out of baby bottles.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 13, 2009