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Blind date: Dining in the dark at Blackout restaurant

dining_in_darkness.jpg

Illustration by Scott Lien

Our waiter, equipped with night-vision goggles, guides us to a table against a wall in what he describes as an L-shaped warehouse. He pours our water, explains where the essential items are located, and leaves to bring our first course.

Stephanie: What side did he say the water was on? This is so much more complicated than I thought.

Summer: Yeah, like, I didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into, it’s like, yeah like a five-course meal too,

Stephanie: Shit, I have my gum in my mouth ...

Summer: You have gum? Oh, um …

Stephanie: I’m just gonna have to swallow it.

Summer: I mean maybe you could like …

Stephanie: Oh, too late. It happened. Does this have a straw?

Summer: No, I don’t think it does, it’s just the cup. It’s shaped like a … I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like a round …

Stephanie: It’s like a cup?

Summer: Yeah, just a cup.

Stephanie: Do you think it’s a warehouse with wood, do you think?

Summer: Yeah, I mean they don’t have to have any decor.

Stephanie: A really low overhead for design in this place … what a concept.

Summer: It really is … I mean, who knows what could be around us.

Stephanie: Yeah. I mean, I didn’t read that waiver, did you?

Summer: Me neither!

The first course arrives.

Summer: Okay so I smell … kind of like lentil soup?

Stephanie: I was thinking pasta e fagioli. Now I’m thinking about the white T-shirt I decided to wear, I don’t know why.

Summer: Remember, we're wearing aprons! Those plastic aprons they gave us. So you should be okay. Did you try it yet? It tastes a little like lentil soup.

Stephanie: It tastes familiar, but I can't place it.

Summer: Maybe like lentil soup mixed with something? Squash maybe? But there's a heat to it ... Like it's not overly savory but it's like ...

Stephanie: Yeah, like ... What the f---? I like it!

Summer: Yeah, me too.

Stephanie: What would happen if you just stuck your foot out and tripped someone?

Summer: Oh my god, that's why we have waivers, y’all.

Stephanie: That's why we sign waivers!

Summer: I'm also just curious as to how the other food will be served, because this is easy, it’s obviously soup.

Stephanie: It’s gotta be finger foods. It can’t be anything that involves a knife.

Summer: We have a knife, though.

Stephanie: Oh, that’s right. Though that’s weird, maybe like really tender shit?

Summer: I hope so?

Stephanie: Like imagine if they give us crawfish.

Our waiter brings the next course. He explains there are three balls placed in sauce in front of us, and this course is probably best to eat with our hands.

Summer: I can’t feel ... Oh, okay, there's one.

Stephanie: Holy shit. That’s actually bomb af. It’s like ... food I’ve had at a bar at some point in my life.

Summer: Yeah, there's so many flavors that are so familiar.

Stephanie: You think it’s like fried mashed potatoes?

Summer: Possibly ... There's a certain spice that they're using. Is it cardamom?

Stephanie: What the f--- is cardamom? Okay, so the next one.

Summer: This sauce ... it smells a little sweet and sour-y… Buffalo-y...

Stephanie: Asian-y ...

Summer: Oooh!

Stephanie: Okay, so I feel like this is a sweet onion teriyaki. I feel like I definitely detect onions. Because I hate onions.

Summer: I really like this one. I think you're right about the onion.

Stephanie: I just wonder what we’re eating.

Summer: Yeah like, what's in these balls??

Stephanie: What’s in the balls?

“Bury a Friend” by Billie Ellish comes on over the sound system.

Summer: Oh, wow!

Stephanie: This is it. This is the vibe.

Summer: This is the exact vibe.

Stephanie: This restaurant was created for this song!

Summer: It was all part of an elaborate scheme.

Stephanie: Billie Ellish is actually our server!

Summer: Let me finish this, it's really good.

Stephanie: Let's do this last one.

Together: Oh!

Stephanie: This tastes like pickles!

Summer: Yeah! My initial reaction is this tastes like a grilled cheese a little. I don't think there's cheese in this though — oh, wait, yeah, there is. Do you think these are like those things ...

We spend 30 seconds trying to find the word for “risotto.”

Stephanie: I hope the next course is a salad. What did we get utensils for? I assume we'll use them at some point.

Summer: A salad sounds good, but I'm not too confident in my ability to eat a salad right now. A salad is kind of annoying to eat in the first place ... like with a fork. You need kinda like a ...

Stephanie: Like a crane.

Summer: A crane?

Stephanie: No, like a mini one. You know what I’m talking about? Like, uh, like when you go to the amusement park and the crane gets the things. You just need a mini one that scoops it all up.

Summer: I was thinking more like chopsticks maybe … or tongs ...

Stephanie: Okay, that's where I started in my head, then it escalated. If it were chopsticks, it’d have to be the metal ones, not the wooden ones. The only time I use them is when I get sushi.

Summer: Yeah, same, occasionally in other foods, if they're there and it warrants it.

Stephanie: Yeah, occasionally, like Chinese takeout when I’m feeling wild.

Our waiter brings over another course. This course includes a sort of pastry, something mashed, something that resembles the “genie’s lamp in Aladdin,” and some “beans in the form of strings.”

Stephanie: This one is gonna be a mission. I don’t even know where to start.

Summer: *clank* What did I do? And where's the gravy boat? That's what I'm curious about.

Stephanie: Oh, the gravy’s good. Do you like mushrooms? I wanna, like, put it over my shit, but I don’t know where my shit is.

Summer: I'm just gonna … I feel the puff pastry.

Stephanie: Okay, this is hard.

Summer: Yeah, this is difficult. Oooo ... mhhmm, okay. I still can't find the gravy boat.

Stephanie: Oh, okay not bad, not bad. Like I don’t know what the f--- this is, but it all kinda works together.

Summer: I’m just holding the puff pastry in my hand like I don't even know ... I'm just gonna pour the gravy over everything and hope for the best.

Stephanie: That’s what I thought I did but so far with each bite, I haven’t tasted any gravy.

Summer: I feel like there's a whole portion of this meal that I'm not getting in on.

Stephanie: Right? Like on the other side of the bowl is a whole other world.

Summer: Okay wait, so there's more puff pastry?

Stephanie: Oh, there's a shit ton. I keep running into it.

Summer: What. Is. This?

Our waiter arrives with the final course. He explains that we have a shot glass-type of container in front of us, and he has placed a spoon next to it on the table.

Stephanie: Hm. This is like a parfait? What is that on the top? Why doesn't it taste like whipped cream?

Summer: What I'm curious about is this solid crunchy thing ...

Stephanie: Maybe a cookie-type situation?

Summer: Maybe a shortbread cookie?

Stephanie: Oh, I just got it all over my face.

Summer: Dude, I have no idea what this flavor is. … So, what are our final thoughts on this whole experience?

Stephanie: I think the atmosphere had a kind of um ... I don’t even ... it’s kind of like exactly what I was expecting but not at all. … Do you think it helps your taste buds?

Summer: It made me think a lot more about the ingredients in the food. Like there was a lot of onions happening.

Stephanie: A lot of spices.

Summer: Do they ever tell us?

Stephanie: Yeah, when we go back out there after they give us the menu.

Summer: Oh, wow, okay, I'm excited.

Stephanie: I wanna know what that stuff was that felt like whipped cream but didn’t taste like whipped cream!

Blackout
3871 S. Valley View Blvd. #8
702-960-4000
Mon-Thu 5-11p
Fri-Sun Noon-11p
dineblackout.com

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