Chef Giovanni Rocchio of the Fort Lauderdale industrial chic tapas hotspot, One Door East, and adjoining Valentino Cucina Italiana restaurant, recently launched Dining in the Dark, a unique sensory awareness experience. Hosted by Dining in the Dark specialist Greg Kovach, who greets each Dining in the Dark guest with a welcome cocktail.
Here are some excellent drinks menu choices to kick off a truly memorable epicurean adventure:
Pre-Dinner Cocktails at One Door East
Cucumber Basil Smash
Refreshing and perfectly balanced; Hendrick’s Gin, Muddled Cucumber and Basil Leaves, Simple Syrup, and fresh Lemon Juice; garnished with fresh Cucumber Ribbon.
Spicy and slightly tart; Langley London Dry Gin, Japanese Citrus, Berries, and Ginger.
Bubbly and herbaceous; Malfy Gin, fresh Sage Leaves, Citrus and Moscato Spuma Sparkling Wine.
When time to dine, Greg, garbed in a traditional Chinese kimono and night vision goggles, guides diners into One Door East’s private, pitch-black dining room. The meal is six courses based on seasonality, chef specialties and availability. Each Dining in the Dark menu is different for each session. There are no utensils provided, only extra napkins. By challenging guests to navigate a meal without sight, diners senses of taste and smell are heightened.
“Before you know it, you are smelling, licking and dissecting each bite,” said Kovach who always allows each guest to guess what they have sampled before telling them what they’re actually chewing on. “It’s always fun to hear those who come up with the wrong answer; it’s like a mind trick.”
At our delish dinner, each dish was paired with wine, which added to the guessing game; even for the most veteran of oenophiles.
One Door East Details
620 South Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale FL; onedooreast.com; @onedooreast
Dining in the Dark: The six course food tasting menu is $105 per person, with an option to add a wine pairing for an additional $45pp++. Two seatings are available at 6:30pm or 9pm, Tuesday through Saturday.
Summer Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, from 5 pm to close
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