Gag Order: What It’s Like to Eat a Totally Silent Dinner at a Restaurant

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That's locally sourced tape. Photo: Laurent Hamels/Corbis

In Greenpoint, the restaurant Eat recently launched what it hopes will become a monthly occurrence: completely silent dinners. As The Wall Street Journal tells it, several customers at the pilot dinner "mentioned stints in silence at meditative retreats, hoping to rediscover that pastoral energy in a city-bound context." It's an interesting idea, and a look at social media reveals plenty of people are intrigued. But even still, what's it like to eat a totally silent dinner at a restaurant? Now Grub Street has an exclusive look at what, exactly, happens during a no-talking-allowed dinner inside a New York City restaurant.

Diner No. 1, a woman in her mid-thirties, and Diner No. 2, Diner No. 1's husband, enter and are seated. The waiter comes over.

Waiter: ...
Diner No. 1: ...
Diner No. 2: ...
Waiter: [Opens eyes real wide, like, Let's get on with it.]
Diner No. 1: [Looks confused.]
Waiter: [Looks at Diner No. 2.]
Diner No. 2: [Shakes head, like, I dunno. I'm confused, too.]
Waiter: [Makes drinking motion.]
Diner No. 1: [Nods in recognition, like, Ahhhh... water.]
Waiter: [Makes three motions: First, taps his arm. Then stands still. Then does a jazz-hands thing, like, Sparkling.]
Diner No. 2: [Repeats the jazz-hands thing for sparkling.]
Waiter: [Rolls eyes and shrugs, like, Finally.]

Waiter leaves. Diner No. 1 and Diner No. 2 remain at the table.

Diner No. 1: ...
Diner No. 2: [Checks iPhone 5 to play around with new iOS 7 update.]
Diner No. 1: [Furrows brow at Diner No. 2, like, Come on, that's rude.]
Diner No. 2: [Puts away phone and makes a face like, What? It's not like we can talk.]
Diner No. 1: ...
Diner No. 2: ...

Waiter returns with water and menus.

Diner No. 1: [Points to the dishes she would like.]
Diner No. 2: [Points to the dishes he would like.]

Waiter takes menu and leaves.

Diner No. 1: ...
Diner No. 2: ...
Diner No. 1: [Checks watch.]
Diner No. 2: [Clears throat, quietly.]

The waiter returns to the table and sets the appetizers down. Diner No. 1 has a beet salad. Diner No. 2 gets some soup.

Diner No. 2 takes out his camera to snap an Instagram shot of his soup. Diner No. 1 waits, but you can tell she's not happy about it.

Diner No. 1: ...
Diner No. 2: ...

They eat.

Diner No. 2: *SLURP*

Everyone in the restaurant immediately turns and stares at Diner No. 2.

Diner No. 2: [Makes that face where you open your eyes wide and push your lips real flat, like, Whoops.]
Diner No. 1: [Closes eyes and shakes her head.]
Diner No. 2: [Wrinkles his nose like, Something is not right with this soup.]

Diner No. 1 tries some of the soup and agrees something is off.

As the waiter passes, Diner No. 1 gets his attention.

Diner No. 1: ...
Waiter: ...
Diner No. 1: ...
Waiter: [Tilts his head to the side like, Yes? What?]
Diner No. 1: [Whispering very, very quietly] May I have some salt?

Diner No. 1 and Diner No. 2 are immediately thrown out of the restaurant.

Brooklyn Foodies Supper in Silence [WSJ]