Looking for O Noir reviews
I'm interested in trying out O Noir now that it's been open for awhile. I've looked through older reviews, and the general theme seemed to be that it's a novel, if challenging experience with mediocre food. Has anyone been there recently that can provide a more updated review? How would you rate the food and service?
620 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA
We ate there last week - Thursday weeknight, 9pm service. Group of 4. There were maybe 15 or so other people at the dinner service.
Three of us ordered the calamari apps - which were all good and more plentiful than expected. One person ordered the "surprise" app. She did have food allergies and informed the staff about them. But we also came up with a sign for her to use if she did have a food allergy reaction in the dark - just in case. Her surprise app was disappointing - it seemed to be just a green salad. Definitely lacking compared to the calamari or other apps listed.
Main courses - three had the chicken, one had fillet mignon.
The filet mignon arrived already cut up - guess they don't want people using steak knives in the dark. The chicken was good and plentiful, albeit a bit dry. I may not have noticed the dryness if I'd been able to redistribute the sauce if I had been able to see. The roasted vegetables were plentiful and it was a bit of a "search and rescue" mission at the end to find all the veggies. Some did end up on my lap.
All in, the food was good, but not fantastic. You are paying for the experience. We all ordered the app and main course for $32. No desserts. One person left hungry (the surprise app + steak person). Service was pleasant and friendly.
The hardest and most interesting thing for all of us was not the eating in the dark - but communicating in the dark. You can't rely on facial expressions and gestures - everything has to be communicated verbally. We actually really enjoyed this aspect of the experience and stuck around for a full 30minutes (at least) after we'd finished eating just to talk in the dark.
I was there March 2010 for a birthday party. People made it fun but it's a novelty thing to do.
Food was not gourmet but pleasant like a meal made by a "home cook". Most chosed the 3 course meal for $39 & 2 brave souls chose the "surprise" everything. Did the 5:45pm seating which was really early but only other alternative is 9pm.
It was SO dark; you couldn't see in front of you but it felt like one was sitting in an ordinary room - we did have table cloths and cheap banquet style chairs with sturdy fabric seat cover. I did ask the cashier what the room looked like- she replied that it seated around 90 seats- standard tables with black table clothes, wood panelled walls..all in all..because no one can see the decor; you could be sitting in someone's basement and wouldn't know the difference.
Appetizer- I ordered the stuffed portobelllo mushroom on greens - nicely flavoured once my fork found the fugus & I could taste the balsamic vinegar. salad, with an even distribution of calamari. Main- 5 spiced filet mignon with potato & assorted vegetables. Meat was tender & pre-sliced which made it a lot easier to eat. Dessert was 1932 or 1952 Chocolate Cake with ice cream- cake was moist but don't know what made the cake the year it was....!
I agree with bluefirefly's comment that the food was average, but nothing special.
Our waiter was very pleasant , friendly & attentive. As he was talking to our table, his hands rested on my shoulders and give me a demi massage quite a few times...no, I wasn't charged extra for this service!
One climatized to eating comfortably in the dark! Overall, a good novelty experience if just to "see" what it is like to live in a visually impaired world- one has a new appreciation of sight.
Funny you should ask. I was there just on the weekend and unfortunately, the food hasn't changed much from what other reviews have commented. I attended with a friend and we both chose the 2 course meal (I had the starter and main, he had the "surprise" main and dessert) for $32 each. They still had the 3 course prix- fixe available for $39. There are only 2 seatings - 5:45pm or 9pm.
Ordering: I would like to point out that they were quite accommodating in terms of food allergies. I was interested in trying the surprise dish but they wouldn't tell me what was in there. Instead, they asked me to list items that I couldn't have. Since I didn't want to risk it, I decided not to order the surprise dish but my friend went for it.
Decor: An older review had mentioned table cloths, but there wasn't one at our table, and it was indeed pretty tight seating in my opinion (my chair back was touching the other person's chair back.) They do set it up so that one side of the table is touching the wall and that is where drinks are set to prevent them from being knocked down easily. Nothing fancy in terms of the seats as well - the typical hotel conference chairs with the metal frame and some sort of plastic seat cover.
Food: I ordered the grilled calamari on a mixed salad and the calamari came out toasty hot. I could easily taste the bits of tomato and the greens. It was a fairly decent salad, with an even distribution of calamari. My main was pasta (penne) with light tomato sauce and veggies. There were a lot of green string beans, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini pieces. My friend chose the chocolate mousse with raspberry dessert. The food was average, but nothing special.
Service: Our waiter was very pleasant and friendly. He checked in on us a couple of times, and refilled my hot water when I requested it. (The waiters provide their names and you can call out to them when you need them.) I had enough left on my plate to take stuff home so he took the dish away and brought it back in a paper bag. Then he realized it would be difficult for me to bring it out in the dark so he returned it to the lit bar/lobby (where one pays at the end of the meal).
Apart from a few empty forkfuls, I didn't find it too difficult to eat in the dark. I noticed when people walked by (the waiters were extremely quiet you wouldn't even know they were standing close by until they announced their names). It WAS really dark as people have stated. You'll notice that they do not serve soup or spaghetti. Everything on the menu is relatively easy to eat and not meant to be messy. Overall, probably a good experience if just to "see" what it is like for others who have lost their vision. (They train 2-3 months before working in the restaurant). The Montreal O Noir donates 5% of their profits to charities that help those who are visually impaired, but there is no mention of the same thing for the Toronto location. In any case, a chance to be grateful for our own sight and to help out by keeping the servers employed.
620 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA