Au Noir is a concept created by a blind man in Switzerland who would have dinner parties and make all of his guests wear blindfolds so that they could experience their meals- and their evenings- as though they were blind themselves. The restaurant chain based on this idea was set up in Switzerland and there are now two locations in Canada (Montreal & Toronto). You start your evening in the well-lit lobby where you choose your appetizer, meal, and dessert from the menu. I chose a grilled portobello mushroom salad, pasta with cream sauce, and chocolate cake. Once you have submitted your menu options to one of the staff members, each group (I was with my boyfriend and a great friend of mine who was visiting from out West) is led one by one into the dining area. The waiters are all blind.
Our waiter explained to us that we would walk in a line, hold onto each others arms or backs, and follow the wall as guidance towards our table which he would help us feel out. He explained that we would each have a plate, a fork, and a knife in front of us at our table. We walked in, and man, it was PITCH black! I know I shouldn't have been surprised, but when you think of eating in the dark, you think of a room with no lights on, you think of your eyes adjusting. This place is underground and there is absolutely no source of light. It's truly black. No shadows, no eye adjustments. There was no way to know how big the room was. There was no way to see anything. At first, I was incredibly anxious. But once I stopped TRYING to see and made my peace with the fact that I just wasn't going to be able to, it was absolutely incredible. The food was amazing, conversation was great, and the entire thing was one of the best experiences of my life. It is a real, real shock to feel absolutely 100% blind, and I think it's something everyone should try once in their lifetime.