You have not seen a restaurant review on this blog. I’m easy: I like to eat in restaurants, never send food back, always clean my plate. This review is about an experience, not the menu; our dinner at the restaurant Opaque wasn’t anything I expected. Their marketing is European-ish, but the actual dining is… different. Good food. Attentive service. And an experience to appreciate.
You are in the dark. Quite literally, you actually dine in utter darkness, not a SPECK of light. Not. A. Speck! Which, of course, convinced me prior to the evening that this would be a weirdo gimmick. Stick with me here. It obviously IS a gimmick, and they promote it to be the ultimate way to be at one with the food, not to be distracted, blah blah blah.
That’s not what it actually IS. In my opinion, it’s about being blind. That was the experience I came away with and for that, I was grateful. This was my second encounter as the patron of a fully sightless business; first was a massage in Shanghai. GREAT massage.
So now you know that for this post, I am not joking. The wait staff at Opaque is visually impaired. Our guy, Raphael lost his sight just four years ago. He can see shadows in his left eye, nothing in his right. It took one week for this to happen; diabetes. Yet here he is, viably employed in a restaurant. He did a superb job. And there we were, vulnerable as he. Our vulnerability was less than two hours. His is for life.
You won’t see me review the food. Yes, I liked it. But for this post, it is more about REALLY trying to be “present” as a sightless person. Listening to other diners to figure out the room layout. How many tables were there? How many wait staff? Where was Raphael right now and how many tables did he have? Would I topple my glass (the wine glasses were THANKFULLY stem-less, little stubby things. But still, real glass). How much did I rely on fingers vs. utensils? A melon ball in the salad wasn’t cooperating, and I wasn’t sure if it was a cherry tomato, so that gave my fingers permission to do some walking. Worked out fine.
Larry did well. He thrives on trying new things — within reason (don’t ask him to bungee jump). I was the resistant one because, seriously, I wasn’t into the gimmick I thought it was. Now I think it’s quite worth the experience.
Opaque understandably prefers parties of two. NOT a place for kids, no matter how much you are into exposing your offspring to adventure. When you dine there, you will get a greater sense as to why.
Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco. Booked several weeks in advance. Opaque Restaurant. Give it a try, then comment. Or ask questions, happy to fill you in more.