Dining At ???

Plenty of restaurants in L.A. claim to be exclusive: no sign on the door, no address, an unlisted number. But the fact is, if you know someone who’s been there, you really won’t have any trouble finding the place. That’s not the case with ???. Not only do I not know where it is, I have no idea how I got there.

Seriously, all I can remember is answering the door and some guy spraying a melon-scented mist in my face. The next thing I knew, I was dining on what I have to assume was the most delicious seafood I’ve ever tasted. I’m really not sure. That’s because at ???, you eat in complete darkness—while wearing a blindfold. I guess they don’t like to take any chances.

OK, I know what you’re thinking: If you’re blindfolded, how do you manage to feed yourself? Good question. You don’t. Each diner is assigned a personal feeder. How do the feeders see the food? Uh, I guess they use a pair of night-vision goggles or something.

In any case, very few words are allowed to be exchanged between you and your feeder. For instance, you might hear the words “Item 1” before you experience an incredibly fresh mango salsa. If you want more of something, you have to refer to it by its number, followed by the word “please,” e.g., “More item 5, please.” Just don’t get too chatty. If you break the rules, they might suddenly pinch your nose or flick your earlobe. Or worse.

Judging from the acoustics, I believe I was in some kind of private room. Not huge, mind you. Possibly a closet. Maybe even my closet. Who knows. The fact is, I couldn’t hear any other people blurting out item numbers or yelping in pain from having their noses pinched or earlobes flicked.

Yes, the rules take some getting used to. But trust me, the cuisine at ??? is well worth it. Which brings us to the price. I don’t really recall paying for anything. But when I went online to check my bank records the next day, I had a new charge on my account for $2,523 from “Uncle Jeb’s Good Ol’ Fashioned Dildo Emporium. Now that’s either a buttload of new dildos (pardon my choice of words) or one incredibly delicious meal.

UPDATE: Turns out that charge was for a lot of dildos. I guess while I was still groggy from whatever drug they put in my dessert (an Asian Pear Tart?), I got online and made some purchases that I would later regret. What’s worse, this package required a signature. And since I wasn’t at home, my neighbor signed for it. Right there on the mailing label were the words “Uncle Jeb’s Good Ol’ Fashioned Dildo Emporium. We’ll fix ya up real good.” Oh, and one more thing: a couple of days later, a charge for $583 appeared on my statement. The description simply read, “A Restaurant.” Yeah.

So in conclusion, the ??? restaurant: Good food, bad drugs.

Oh, and if you happen to be shopping for a new dildo (and who isn’t?), you’ll find over one hundred of them on eBay right now, still sealed in their original packages. Cheap.

Comments 19

  1. dvl wrote:

    this made me think of the sushi place on melrose just east of san vicente with no sign that i have been dying to go to forever now. butofcourse you know i’m (not so) secretly wishing for the pinching and flicking in between each course.

    Posted 11 Oct 2006 at 4:16 pm
  2. Smivey wrote:

    Ah, I think I know the place. I didn’t even know it was a sushi restaurant. Hm. Guess you have to know the right people.

    Posted 11 Oct 2006 at 7:23 pm
  3. JeN wrote:

    Oh that melon-scented mist.
    Can you actually find dildos on Ebay? What am I saying… you can find pretty much anything on Ebay.

    … but are there used dildos for sale. and is anyone buying them?

    Posted 12 Oct 2006 at 3:34 pm
  4. Smivey wrote:

    I wasn’t sure about that myself, JeN. Just to be safe, I listed them in the Artificial Limbs category.

    Posted 12 Oct 2006 at 4:03 pm
  5. Anonymous waitress wrote:

    Listen here Smivey! First of all, you got the name wrong. It’s ??. Two question marks, what is so hard about that? And what is up with your tipping! 14%?!?! What are we in the stone ages or something? But I will tell the prep cook that you liked the mango salsa.

    uuummm, dildos? I do think artificial limbs was the way to go.

    Posted 20 Oct 2006 at 4:51 pm
  6. Smivey wrote:

    OK, Anonymous Waitress—if that’s your real name, pardon me for not getting the name of the restaurant right. I mean, I had a hard time seeing it, on the account of the fact that I was fucking blindfolded at the time!

    As for the tip, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was so hopped up on whatever you put in my damn Asian Pear tart that you could have added whatever tip you wanted to the bill and I would have gladly signed for it.

    Incidentally, the dildos are almost sold out. Get your bids in now.

    Posted 20 Oct 2006 at 5:56 pm
  7. bitter waitress wrote:

    A greenish fruit

    Posted 20 Oct 2006 at 8:20 pm
  8. bitter waitress wrote:

    Who the hell? Man, you gotta be ghetto. Otherwise there is no meaning in life. Except if you are me!!! I am better than everyone else in the world!!! Your thoughts?

    Posted 20 Oct 2006 at 8:28 pm
  9. Smivey wrote:

    Yes, you’re better than everyone else in the world. That’s why you work at a restaurant where you have to wear night-vision goggles and hand feed your customers.

    Posted 20 Oct 2006 at 10:08 pm
  10. jules bianchi wrote:

    OMG i thought i had just dreamt about that place. Its REAL??

    Posted 21 Oct 2006 at 10:41 am
  11. Smivey wrote:

    Hmmm maybe we both dreamt about it, Jules, along with that bitter waitress.

    Posted 21 Oct 2006 at 11:49 am
  12. JeN wrote:

    hey Smivey, about that used dildo bit…
    seems you can get used ones.

    Posted 27 Oct 2006 at 10:32 pm
  13. Lani wrote:

    LOL dildos on ebay?!!

    is that great or what?! :D

    Posted 03 Nov 2006 at 1:59 pm
  14. Smivey wrote:

    Apparently, eBay didn’t find it to be that great of an idea, Lani. They made me take them off the site and refund everyone’s money. I’m trying Craig’s List next.

    Posted 03 Nov 2006 at 2:44 pm
  15. Smivey wrote:

    No, I’ve just been under a lot of stress lately. Haven’t had much time to think, let alone write. My kitchen is being remodeled right now. I suppose I could blog about that, but that would be boring. Keep me on your RSS feed and eventually something will pop up. Promise.

    Posted 04 Nov 2006 at 9:38 pm
  16. ericka marionette wrote:

    How the hell do you pronounce ???. whoops, ??.

    Posted 21 Nov 2006 at 11:06 am
  17. Smivey wrote:

    That’s the thing, ericka, you don’t. It’s like that symbol Prince used for a while.

    Posted 21 Nov 2006 at 11:12 am
  18. C.S.D. wrote:

    I’ve been there before. I actually try to chat it up so they DO pinch my nose or flick my earlobe. I wish I could have a personal nose pincher or earlobe flicker. That would make things so much easier than trying to find my way back to that place.

    Did you get the Octopus Fritters when you were there? I believe it was Item# 8976874143. Amazing.

    Posted 24 Nov 2006 at 6:21 am
  19. Smivey wrote:

    Is that what that was? Love them. Until I just found out what they were. Suddenly, I don’t feel so well.

    Posted 24 Nov 2006 at 8:03 am

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