Magazine article The New Yorker

Jewel Bako

Magazine article The New Yorker

Jewel Bako

Article excerpt

239 E. 5th St. (979-1012)--Most sushi joints don't offer timbale of toro tartare, glazed with avocado sauce and decorated with a cucumber-and-radish cockade like some petit four out of Escoffier. But Grace and Jack Lamb, who on their first date both confessed to dreams of owning a restaurant, aren't interested in restraint. "I wanted bamboo and elegant, sexy lighting," he says. "I wanted it to feel luxurious and warm, like a jewel box," she says. Eighteen months ago, they opened their tiny Japanese grotto on the site of a former video shop on East Fifth Street. "We're here every night," Mr. Lamb, formerly of Bouley and Danube, says. "It's our baby."

The couple hired the Japanese architect Hiromi Tsuruta, who painted the concrete outer wall the color of morels and cut it with a low strip of glass. Inside the cool hideaway, a curving tunnel of bamboo rods casts a green, watery light over the room, and gray velvet banquettes hug the walls. Mr. Lamb, an Irish-Italian-American in a dark suit and designer frames, and Mrs. …

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