Paris – Dinner @ Dans Le Noir

8th of November 2011

It’s my 6th days vacationing in this wonderful city and I am totally having a fabulous time.

Best of all, I have my younger brother joining me for the remainder of this trip. Well to show my gratitude I’ve made a reservation at Dans Le Noir in celebration of his (belated) Birthday.

To those of you who have never heard of this specialty resto ~ this is a restaurant with blind servers.

51 rue Quincampoix

Initially, my brother has no idea what type of surprise I had in mind. Our reservation was at 8 p.m. but decided to arrive half-an-hour early. When we arrived around 7:30 p.m., diners were already lining up by the door.

When we got inside the attendant checked us in and were instructed to place all of our belongings (purse, cell phones, cameras, umbrellas) in the locker and wait at the lobby. While we were waiting other patrons sitting next to us started talking about the place and my brother overheard (eavesdropping, perhaps?) the whole conversation. He then asked me “how could they serve us if they are blind?” There goes my SURPRISE!!!

Ten minutes later, the head waiter came and explained to us what we were about to experience inside the dining area. She tells us that the servers are blind and we are going to dine in absolute total darkness. She then asked if we have any food restrictions and/or allergies that they should know about. Dans Le Noir only offers SURPRISE menu. Diners have no idea what’s on their plate. The food will be revealed only after they leave the dining room.

Anyway, when our names were called the manager introduced us to our assigned waitress named “Radi.” Radi speaks both French and English. She was professional and nice. After exchanging pleasantries, she asked if we were ready to go inside. Then she instructed my brother to place his left hand on her shoulder, and I, placing my left hand on my brother’s. Then we started walking using each others shoulder as a guide towards the dining room. As we were walking Radi tells us in advance what is in front of us. When we finally arrived at our assigned table she pulled a chair on her left and asked me to sit. She then pulled another chair to her right for my brother.

While seated, Radi explained to us things that were on our table. She held my hand and guide me as to the location of my plate, fork, knife, and drinking glass. She did the same thing for my brother. She also tells us how to pour water on our glasses by placing one finger on the lip of the glass, and once we feel the water hit the finger then it means the glass is full. Next, she asked which menu we would like to get and we chose three course menu.

While Radi is away placing our order my brother and I started searching for the exact location of our cutleries. We also poured water in our glasses without any difficulties. While waiting for our appetizers other diners kept coming in. Radi came back with the appetizers and while we were eating my brother and I played guessing game. Each time we take a bite we asked each other what we think were on our plate (capers, tomatoes, eggplant and cheese with a slight vinaigrette).

Fifteen (15) minutes later here comes Radi with three additional diners who joined our table. She introduced us to them. The two young couple were from Istanbul and their friend were from Paris. Ada sat next to me on the left and her husband were sitting next to her, and their friend sat next to my brother.

As soon as they got settled, Ada were so lost about the whole idea and made so much commotions finding her cutlery. She could not even find her drinking glass. At one point while trying to find her table napkin, she accidentally touched my boob! I was so shocked and screamed out of my lung – “hey you just touched my boob! All of a sudden the whole dining room burst into laughter. After that episode it felt like everybody around the room loosened up and started having fun time with their own group.

Our food was very good and I felt full after eating the first course. While we were enjoying the meal we again played another guessing game. This time we tried guessing the age of each other through the sound of individual voice. It was so much fun and such a great experience. I realize that everyone would not be comfortable with this though. Trying to figure out what’s on your plate turns into a very fun conversation. This is also a unique opportunity to truly test your senses of taste and smell. This is an experience I will NEVER forget.