Here’s an antidote for the jaded diner: Washington, D.C.’s Sensorium combines beautiful, precious plates of deconstructed food (been there, done that)— with performance art (whoa!). Think of the experience as Cirque du Soleil meets eating out.
The concept is brought to you by supper club chef Bryon Brown of Arista Kitchen and a troupe of black-clad performance artists. Brown, who typically holds his supper club dinners in art galleries throughout D.C. wanted to bump up the art factor in his events so he built a 36-foot geodesic dome by the Anacostia River waterfront and filled it with elaborate lighting, a high-tech sound system and seating for just 30 people. Between each of the 12 courses (each paired with wines), actors perform vignettes that are somehow related to the food. So if your next course involves, say, duck, several artists might act out a routine in macramé bird masks (yes, really). Sure, it’s an unusual concept, but there’s a method behind Brown’s madness: “Of all the senses, your sense of taste dissipates the quickest, and visual memories stay the longest,” he says. “What we’re trying to do is take visual memories and connect them to taste. How can you prolong your memories of taste?”
Depending on your opinion of performance art, an evening at Sensorium may or may not suit your palate, but Brown is right: The experience definitely makes for a memorable meal. Through May 22. Tickets, $150, includes 12 courses and wine; purchase at http://www.sensoriumdc.com. —Joe Sugarman