Monday, 15 October 2012

Restaurant Review - Dark Table Restaurant: Dining in the Dark

New: Restaurant Review - Dark Table Restaurant: Dining in the Dark
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Dark Table has finally made its way down to Vancouver and of course I had to go check out what this was all about. Dining in complete darkness was definitely a nerve racking experience. I couldn’t check out my surroundings, I didn’t know where other tables were, and I couldn’t see what I was eating at all. The servers, who are all visually impaired to a certain degree, were trained for just two months before they were put into action.

Dark Table Restaurant, Vancouver's newest dining experience

The dining experience begins outside where you’re taken to a bench where you select what menu you’d like and your main course. You have the choice between a surprise appetizer or dessert and meal ($33) or both plus the meal ($39).

Your server then greets you outside and guide you into the pitch dark restaurant. It’s incredible how well they’ve memorized the restaurant and the seating arrangements. We were led into the restaurant in a single file and the server graciously helped each of us into our seats.

The service was quick and attentive. Even in the dark with blind servers, our glasses were filled more often than at ordinary restaurants. From the moment we walked in to the moment we left, the entire dining experience took about two hours. It takes a few minutes to get used to the lack of light, and as long as you don’t try to eat too fast, it’s a great experience. It may take a couple tries at first, especially if you get a salad as your surprise appetizer.

My appetizer for the night was a kale salad with a balsamic dressing and some roasted vegetables and mushrooms. The main course I selected was the goat cheese and date-stuffed chicken with a sweet, tangy sauce and a large side of vegetables and roasted potatoes. The chicken was quite dry and I didn’t particularly like the flavours of the sweet orange gastrique with the strong goat cheese.

I also got the chance to try the beef tenderloin which had a nice grilled flavour and was definitely not overcooked, as well as the ravioli in jalapeno Rosemary cream sauce. If I could go back and reorder, I’d probably go with either the ravioli or the beef tenderloin rather than the chicken.

All in all, the food was okay, nothing exceptionally flavourful or memorable. It was all served lukewarm, presumably so you don’t burn yourself, and everything is already cut up for you into bite-size pieces.

The restaurant holds a maximum of about 80 people, but we went on a Thursday night and the atmosphere was relatively calm and quiet.

It was definitely a memorable experience and one I am very glad to have tried it. It gives you a new appreciation for sight, and allows you to experience your food in a whole new way. You learn what textures you like and dislike, and you really get the chance to concentrate on your food.

Would I go back though? Probably not. Once was enough.

Prices: $33-$39 (Set menu)
Location: 2611 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Rating: 2.5-3/5: Good location, easy street parking. Definitely a must-try, entertaining, but food is mediocre and I’d only try it for the experience.

Click here to see my rating scale

Dark Table on Urbanspoon

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