Dining in the Dark at Camaje

Dining in the Dark at Camaje – New York

Camaje {85 MacDougal St., New York, NY; 212-673-8184; camaje.com} is a unique Franco-American bistro in NYC’s Greenwich Village, with savory eats and a cozy ambiance. Thirteen years ago, chef-owner Abby Hitchcock and friend artist/choreographer friend Dana Salisbury, were inspired by a dining concept they had seen overseas and thought that not only would it be a successful idea stateside, but they could improve the concept from a creative standpoint – and so began “Dinners in the Dark”. Why dine in the dark? According to Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist who authored the book “Brain Rules”, “Vision is by far our most dominant sense, taking up half of our brain’s resources.” With the sense of sight out of the picture, so to speak, the heightened ability to process what one is tasting and feeling allows those who dine in the dark get to experience their meal in a different, tailored, and heightened way.

Dining in the Dark at CamajePatrons can expect to be greeted with a blindfold, as the dining room remains lit for safety and ease of service, and subsequently treated to delicious eats, paired expertly with wine to enhance the experience. While the focus is, of course, on taste, they have included other details to help complete the sensory experience outside of the meal itself, like changing the ambiance in the room with new sounds, as an example. Varied, live musical entertainment is part and parcel to the concept. Diners also often seem more apt to physically connect with other guests, in response to the sight deprivation, so choose your companion(s) wisely!

The menu is a total secret until after the meal’s completion, allowing guests to enjoy making guesses about the type of fare they are enjoying throughout the evening, based primarily on taste, scent, and texture. Not to worry, however – Chef Hitchcock isn’t looking to surprise you with outlandish ingredients. Meals are often largely comprised of familiar foods, experienced in a new way, which makes it all that much more fun. The menu is built based on whatever looks good at the farmer’s market! From a culinary standpoint, the focus is on local, fresh, sustainable dining. You may be surprised by your first taste of sunchoke, but the real thrill of dining in the dark lies largely in being challenged to look at eating in a new light – in this case, lack thereof! Events are held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and can also be booked for private parties.

Other dinner in the dark experiences around the world:
Opaque-Dining in the Dark {2020 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA; 310.546.7619; darkdining.com}
Dans le Noir {Multiple locations across Europe; danslenoir.com}

By Kerri Polidore Ivey