The idea of "dining-in-the-dark" is extremely intriguing - especially because it's first location in Montreal opened to wonderful reviews about not only the experience, but the food as well.
Stephen took me to O.Noir for our anniversary, and I was both excited and also skeptical. We had both heard great to mediocre to bad reviews about the food (so mixed!), but the merits were in the experience.
There are two services: 5:45pm and 8:30 pm - we chose the 8:30pm service. Upon arriving we were given the menu to choose our dishes before dining. There are two different price listings: $39 for a starter, main and dessert and $32 for a starter and main or main and dessert. I was extremely disappointed when I looked at the menu, which was boring! Not one dish seemed to stand out to me (it took me almost 15 minutes to even decide on a main because they were all so typical!). We decided to just order a starter and main because the desserts seemed boring and not worth the extra $7 (fruit sorbet, chocolate cake with ice cream and dark chocolate mousse hardly seemed... intriguing to the taste buds for $7 extra).
After ordering and waiting for the time of our seating we were led to a door by our waitress. Apparently the waiters that work at O.Noir locations are legally blind, I thought that was really interesting and our waitress did a wonderful job in guiding us and serving us throughout the night. The room that you dine in really is pitch dark, so if you're scared of the dark I do not recommend this because your eyes do not adjust to the darkness and everything stays pitch black.
Bread was served and I was not impressed. From the hold of the bread and the taste I could easily identify the bread that was brought. Do you know those mini buns that are given with Tim Horton's soups? The same ones that are given with your dinner when you order from Swiss Chalet? That was the bread that was brought - ugh!
From the starters Stephen ordered the Grilled Calamari on a Mixed Green Salad and I ordered the Surprise Starter. The "Surprise" dishes on the menu are the chef's creation and apparently there are multiple different surprise dishes - however another dinner ordered the Surprise dish and when I overheard him describing it, it turned out to be the exact same as mine... A Fruit Salad. From what I could taste there were little strawberries and (I believe) oranges and cherry tomatoes with very very little baby spinach leaves. I was really disappointed. Stephen's dish had very little calamari - even after we both swapped dishes (which was difficult to do in the dark) I was only able to get two pieces of calamari max with the fork and little of my "mixed greens".
Moving onto the mains, I ordered the Fish Served with Rice and Vegetables and Stephen ordered the Surprise Main Dish. As I said before I took a VERY long time to decide on the main that I wanted (if you check the menu now, they included Filet Mignon and Marinated Shrimp with Tomato Rissotto, why couldn't they have that before?!) The other options are so... typical: Chicken Breast with potatoes and vegetables, Pasta with tomato sauce, Fish? With no specification on the fish as well... it just wasn't an appealing menu. When our dishes was brought to us I was wondering how I would possibly eat and cut my food, but after feeling around I noticed the food was already cut into portions (thank you!) which was one upside. My fish tasted like a regular fish fillet seasoned with salt and pepper so it wasn't completely bland, but my rice was tasteless and the only vegetables I tasted were green bean vegetables. Stephen was luckier with his Surprise dish which is now the Filet Mignon with Potatoes and Vegetables. I thought the meat was a bit too chewy, but meat is meat and I do prefer it over fish and chicken.
After we finished eating we notified our waitress who led us out of the dining room. For around $80 after tax and gratuity, the food just wasn't worth that price. There is definitely much better food around the area for an even cheaper and equal price. What we did enjoy was the experience - feeling around for each other and trying to grab food and feed each other food we thought we grabbed (but actually didn't) provided lots of laughs throughout the night. The food however, was not as memorable as the experience. I understand the wonder in dining in the dark and whether or not our other senses become heightened when one is lost... but it just wasn't for me.
O.Noir is fun for a one-time thing, but will I be visiting again? Sadly, not.