Dear Mr. Gold:

I was watching CSI the other night, and a ridiculous murder took place in a restaurant where everyone eats in pitch dark and the waiters are blind. I hear that this is a real restaurant called Opaque, and it’s not in Las Vegas, but here in L.A.

Have you been there? Are the waiters really blind? And is the food worth the gimmickiness of the place?

—Mark, Silver Lake

Dear Mark:

Sensory deprivation is all the rage these days, if the array of comfy blindfolds for sale at Babeland is any indication. It heightens the other senses, they say; makes Coldplay sound as good as Radiohead. In the dark, a velvet painting of dogs playing poker is actually better than an original Matisse. Not to mention early Julian Schnabel: Ouch!

I’ve never been to Opaque, a floating restaurant that alights each Friday and Saturday night in a ballroom at the Sunset Strip hotel colloquially known as the Riot House. I’ve been a restaurant critic too long to be trusted in the dark with a steak knife. I am, though, assured that the waiters are truly blind, the restaurant is black as the interior of a coal mine, also that everyone is reasonably adept at getting food to the table without any tragic hot-soup incidents. But the tab is $99 prix fixe, before wine. (Have you ever sniffed a cork in the dark?) And since the cuisine is prepared by the catering staff at the Hyatt, I suspect it may not be the finest food you’ll ever taste — not room-service bacon cheeseburgers, perhaps, but almost certainly not a Huysmans-like bower of decadent delight. Unless total darkness really does work sensual wonders, in which case: Wow. ?Fri.-Sat., 7–11 p.m., 8401 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd., (310) 546-7619 or

—Jonathan Gold

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