Restaurants that stimulate other senses besides taste
Culinary academies often reinforce the idea that a good meal is about more than just taste. A proper cook knows how to prepare a dish that stimulates other senses. The smell of the food can be the appetizer, the presentation of the entree should be visually stimulating and the feel of a certain dishes can create a unique dining experience.
Some restaurants take this philosophy one step further and try to engage with their patron's five senses in interesting ways. Here are a few establishments that try to make memorable meals using atmosphere, food preparation and presentation that works with the way their guests feel, smell, see, hear and taste.
Eat – This Brooklyn-based restaurant encourages patrons to really focus on the flavor of their food by eliminating distractions. Specifically, it eliminate the auditory stimuli of conversation.
On special Sunday night dining events, all talking from both the wait staff and the diners is prohibited. Patrons eat their food in silence to create a unique atmosphere and to bring the flavor of their meal to the forefront of their attention.
Alinea – If one was looking for a special dish in Chicago, he or she could dine at Alinea and order a raspberry dessert that has been described as eating a broken wine glass.
Raspberry juice and candied roses are combined, formed into sheets and then made brittle. The dish was inspired by shattering glass. It offers a very striking experience of touch and sound.
Opaque and Dans Le noir – These two restaurants, found in Los Angeles and London, respectively, take a page from Eat's playbook and try to offer cuisine free from distractions. Instead of eliminating noise, however, they have dining rooms completely immersed in darkness.
Patrons are unable to see their food, the wait staff, or even the room around them. So far, this type of dining experience has proven popular and Opaque has opened more restaurants around the country offering customers the experience of dining in the dark.
Le Fonda de Sol – For a country experience in the middle of a metropolis, one could visit New York's Le Fonda de Sol. The hay-baked lamb offers a meat dish that is prepared with the food the animal grazed on.
The smell of cooked hay hits the diner the moment they cut into the dish.The sense of smell is closely tied to the sense of taste and it has been known to stimulate memory. A dish offering a pastoral aroma will give the meal a natural flavor and give patrons a connection to mother nature.