by Morton D. Rosenbaum | October 01, 2005

Patrons at Opaque

Patrons at Opaque
must be guided
to their seats.

Attention, thrill-seekers: The European trend of blind dining has landed in the United States. At Opaque Dining in the Dark (800-710-1270;, a weekly affair in the dining room of California’s Hyatt West Hollywood, guests are seated in a pitch-black space for a profoundly invisible dinner. After selecting their entrees in the lobby, diners  are escorted, conga line-style, by a snapping waiter (for path-clearing purposes), into the inky blackness. There they enjoy a nerve-racking initial adjustment, a heightened sense of smell and taste, a liberatingly clumsy tussle with their salads and, by evening’s end, a deep reverence for the blind and visually impaired servers who gracefully shuttle plates from kitchen to table. 
    At press time, other Opaque outposts were being planned for Las Vegas, Orange County (Calif.) and San Diego.