(Illustration of Dark Restaurant via Stuffkit. Do check out the accompanying article on the worlds’ most unusual restaurants … but probably not while you’re eating.)
Mood lighting in restaurants. Can we talk about this?
There’s a fabulous German restaurant in my sleepy little town. The food is to die for, the staff efficient and pleasant, and they often have excellent live entertainment. It’s not the most budget-friendly place on Earth, but Mr. Twistie and I have been known to scrape up the necessary coin to eat at similarly-priced venues at least a few times a year. And yet we go to this one maybe once every two to three years, and then only when someone else suggests it or someone we know is playing there. Why?
Because of the mood lighting.
Look, I get that super high lighting is not the best in restaurants. It’s clinical and harsh. I’m down with the idea of softening the experience, making it a little romantic. But this place takes it to extremes. Before the entertainment kicks in, I literally need a flashlight to see the menu. If the band starts playing before my meal arrives, the lights are further dimmed and I need to discretely feel around my plate to discover what parts of my meal are where. I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy sticking my finger into a pile of cold, damp sauerkraut, and then start poking my very hot, crispy potatoes right next to it.
Yes, I am speaking of literal experiences I have had in this restaurant. Even Mr. Twistie who has cat’s eyes (which may well be a significant part of why I adore him so, having been cat-owned all my life) has been known to actually pick up the tiny votive light on the table and hold it over his menu for aid in reading it.
We went to this restaurant the other evening when a friend of ours expressed a hankering for potato pancakes (yum!) and a good beer. Again, the food was amazing. I had the best butternut squash soup I have ever eaten in a lifetime of obsession with butternut squash soup. The potato pancakes were crispy, hot, and paired with a fabulous but not oversweet applesauce. Everything was exquisite. The band, a local Western Swing combo called The Saddle Cats, was hot and tasty. Seriously, the steel guitar player is legendary. He played on the recording of Down to Seeds and Stems Again with Commander Cody. All in all, it was an amazing evening.
But it will probably be another two to three years before Mr. Twistie and I go back. Why? Because I can’t see a darn thing in the place!
So please, restaurants that do serious mood lighting, could you keep in mind that Dancing in the Dark is a great song… but eating in the dark is just plain a mess?