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Dine in the dark

Pitch-black experience is catching on in Paris, Beijing and other cities.

April 15, 2007|Elliott Hester | Special to The Times

The main course of roasted veal medallions, stuffed ravioli and steamed vegetables might have been forgettable had I been able to see the food. Eating in the dark encouraged me to feel the texture of meat on my tongue. With every nibble, I measured the suppleness of the pasta, the fleshiness of the artichokes. Dining in darkness isn't for everyone, however. After Gilles and I were seated, a family of four (or was it five?) stumbled to a nearby table.

"I don't like this," cried the son, who sounded 9 or 10 years old.

"OK, OK," replied the father, before summoning a waiter and leaving the restaurant with his family. "We'll go for pizza."

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

A feast for four senses

Dans le Noir

Paris, 51 Rue Quincampoix; 011-33-1-42-77-98-04, www.danslenoir.com

London, 30-31 Clerkenwell Green; 011-44-20-7253-1100

Moscow, 2/4 Oktiabrskaya St., 011-7-495-688-3396

Blindekuh (Blind Cow) www.blindekuh.ch

Zurich, Switzerland, 148 Muhlebachstrasse; 011-41-444-215-050

Basel, 192 Dornacherstrasse; 011-41-613-363-300

Unsicht-Bar (Invisible Bar) www.unsicht-bar.com

Berlin, 14 Gormannstrasse; 011-49-30-2434-2500

Hamburg, 36 Kleiner Schaferkamp; 011-49-40-4146-9330

Cologne, 5-7 Im Stavenhof; 011-49-22-1200-5910

Nocti Vagus, 36-38 Saarbrucker Strasse, Berlin; 011-49-30-7474-9123, www.noctivagus.com

O. Noir, 1631 Ste-Catherine St. West, Montreal; (514) 937-9727, www.onoir.com

Opaque (weekends), Hyatt West Hollywood, 8401 Sunset Blvd.; (800) 710-1270, www.opaqueevents.com. (Coming soon to San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas.)

Whale Inside, Room 1037, Building 10, Jianwai SOHO Western Building, Beijing; 011-8610-5869-4235.

At Dark Dining Projects (www.darkdiningprojects.com), sighted waiters serve customers who wear blackout "meditation masks."

Camaje Bistro (selected nights), 85 MacDougal St., New York, N.Y.; (212) 673-8184.

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