Dining in the Dark at Catharsis Restaurant: Fun With Food
The atmosphere at Catharsis on a regular evening somewhat resembles a higher state of consciousness, but Dining in the Dark elevated that feeling to another level. I had been dining there on a previous evening when I heard about the event and was invited to come and experience it by one of the owners.
The ambiance was conducive to a perfect evening. Catharsis usually has atmospheric music playing in the background. On any given night you may hear some Moby, jazz, or Latin alternative rock. I have to mention that this is one of the many reasons I enjoy dining there -- great music, but never overpowering -- it adds to the mood without being a conversation killer.
An MC addressed the diners throughout the evening. Six courses were served and diners were encouraged to call out what their palates were detecting -- or thought they were detecting. There are some ingredients which you may be able to detect immediately (though not many) and some which catch you completely off guard.
Although the restaurant offers superior service and ambiance, the main attraction is the food. The six courses ranged from average to superb, four of the six falling under the latter category. We started off with a honeydew noisette with red wine vinegar, sesame seeds, and honey. It was light, refreshing, and pleasant, but did not impress me one way or the other.
Then came the first of several dishes which made me want to weep for joy -- I may be slightly exaggerating, but you can ask my dinner companion how many times I repeated, "Oh my God," during this one course.
After a lemon sorbet with basil chiffonade to cleanse the palate, we received our third course. As we dug into the doughy crust, people called out the names of several fruits and meats. No one guessed that the primary ingredients of this empanada were pancetta and plum - a divinely inspired combination.
Then came another course which had people moaning and groaning all over the dining room. The beef tenderloin with galette potatoes and three peppercorn sauce -- oh my God. This is the kind of dish that you come back to a restaurant for again and again.
When the evening began, you could sense some people felt slightly ill at ease or uncomfortable -- after all we were placing our blind trust in the staff and chef. By the second course, the atmosphere had palpably changed and you could actually hear the giddiness that had overtaken the patrons. I guess it's all about knowing who you can trust.
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