Dark Table, a different take on the dining experience that has grown in popularity all over the globe, has now finally hit YVR. Patrons are to experience their dinner in the darkness, loosing your sight, you are to rely on your other four senses to enjoy the food and your company. I had read reviews, I knew it was going to be pitch black and thought it would be interesting, but no reading could have prepared me for what is yet to come.
The set menu were reasonably priced, RC and I went for the 3 Choices wanting to expierence it in full. There are set times for the dinner, and everyone is to wait outside the entrance to choose their main course. The starter and dessert were a surprise. We also decided to get a bottle of red, without thinking of the consequences of drinking in the dark, it sounded like a good idea. After deciding what to eat, we were introduced to our server, which is said to be blind or visually impaired. We see other customers requesting for pictures with their servers, and some doing funny gesters in front of the server to make sure they really couldn’t see. Despite the urges, we didn’t as I thought it would be kind of rude.
We were told not to worry, it will take our eyes some time to adjust to the darkness, if anything was needed we would just need to call for Michelle, our server. She was a sweet lady, led us in by our shoulders, maneuvering around the tables and guests until we were finally seated.
No joke, that was all I really saw, give the sliver of light whenever the drape would open, or the flash of a cellphone. It made me feel claustrophobic, as you can hear much more loudly all the chatter of those beside you. There was no music, so every sound was illuminated ten folds. I’m sure the seating area was like Tetris, cause RC actually felt someone beside him.
The bread basket came, along with our wine. Our server had brought over white wine instead of the red we had ordered. We told Michelle, and she said she will go double check, they probably gave her the wrong slip, she soon came back with two glasses of red. We did have some difficulty at first, but it got easier with each clink of the cup and sip that we took. The bread was room temperature baguette with butter, I didn’t want to make a mess of and on myself, so I refrained from having any.
Starter – surprise of the day
The bread basket was taken away, and our first course was served. It was a salad of some type, consisting of what I believe to be frisee , portobello mushrooms, cranisins, quinoa and a nut of some type. Frisee due to the greens unique texture, specifically a porobello because of its meatiness, craisins and nuts because they seemed like the obvious choice for what I was tasting. I’m not 100% sure for quinoa, as the grains seemed a bit bigger, so it could have been lentils instead. There was a light dressing, couldn’t really make out what it was, most likely a very simple vinaigrette. The salad was difficult to eat with a fork since I couldn’t see where or what I was stabbing. I ended up having to lift the plate to my mouth once I figured it was a salad, and spoon everything in. RC didn’t even bother to conquer his.
Entrée – beef tenderloin with our peppercorn sauce, potatoes & vegetables
I had asked our server if she could help me take pictures of the food before they were brought over, however, she forgot to mention it and it skipped my mind as well. I ordered the beef, it was considerate of them to pre-cut the meat because I couldn’t imagine myself sawing away at without landing some on the floor. The beef had good flavour due to the peppercorn sauce, but it felt under cooked or just a really bad piece of meat. I found myself chewing for ages at certain parts, even having to swallow it whole. There was also a piece that wasn’t cut thoroughly enough, it took a while for me to separate the two. The side vegetables were alright, potatoes, carrots and I think asparagus.
Entrée – fresh ravioli with jalapeño rosemary cream sauce
RC chose the ravioli. He said it was nice and creamy, and tried to give me one but missed terribly. It landed on my dress and I had to get Michelle to bring me to the washroom to clean myself off. They were considerate with the lighting in the washroom, once again blocked off with a thick black curtain, it was illuminated only with a dim red light. That way it wouldn’t put too much strain on your eyes readjusting from light to dark. The sauce for the ravioli was really nicely done, it was not heavy with just a hint of spice. The ravioli itself was a bit too overdone for me.
We were finished pretty soon, by then our glasses have run dry so we asked Michelle to refill them for us. She comes back minutes afterwards saying that our bottle had been finished already. Both of us were surprised, as no way a 720ml of red wine could be done in two large glasses, usually it yields at least four. Then it hits us, the mix up in the beginning with the white wine. The couple that got our red must not had said anything and finished the glasses, resulting in the missing two extra glasses of wine. We should have done the same with the white, least then we wouldn’t have to be ripped off of our wine.
Dessert – surprise of the day
It was a raspberry cheesecake mousse of sorts, served in a small (glass) cup. It had distinct flavours of each layers, with a runny raspberry coulis on top, and a heavy cheesecake mousse on the bottom. The tartness from the raspberry did help cut a bit of the richness of cream cheese, but I still found it too overbearing.
Food was average given the price mark, it was nothing to be wowed over. I think this restaurant would be a ‘onetime deal’ for me, I wouldn’t necessarily come back unless I had to oblige to others’ requests. However, I would recommend others to try this at least once as the experience is well worth it. I wouldn’t say I noticed much changes, but my other senses were heightened a bit. Service was excellent, but they should have better organization with the drinks.