Does food taste better if you can’t see it?
Opaque subtitles itself ‘Dining in the Dark’ and they’re not messing around. Opaque is a restaurant where it’s completely dark, like pitch-black, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark. Here’s their sales pitch:
“The dining in the dark experience allows you to willingly plunge into a world of sensitivity you have never experienced before, taking you through a journey of taste, sound and touch, all in the dark.”
Let’s fast-forward to what really matters: the food. The menu is about one million percent less exotic than the lights-out gimmick. Menu is prix fixe, with a candied walnut or Asian-themed ahi tuna salad appetizer, entrée choice of roasted chicken breast, grilled tuna, or grilled beef, and cake or panna cotta for dessert. I guess you can get away with a bland menu if you remove the primary sensory input from your diners. Granted I haven’t deigned to taste it, but c’mon… that menu sounds like awards night at the San Mateo Elk’s Club, not a privileged Baghdad-by-the-Bay dining experience.
Also, the servers are all blind/visually-impaired, which seems a little bit overkill and has this concept wandering into Sprockets territory.
I’m not going to eat at this joint. Plating-porn doesn’t float my boat, but seeing my food is part of the attraction of dining out and it’s part of the appeal of eating good food. I don’t think making me fumble around in the dark for my cutlery is going to make me appreciate the taste or mouth-feel of my food any better. I can’t even imagine how many times I’d accidentally knock over my wine…
In case you’re on the road and want to see what all the fuss is about, they also have locations in LA, NY, San Diego, and Dallas.
689 McAllister St.