The Art of Dining Act Four: Backstage

Rather than standing on its own, as in most Japanese restaurants, a Nobu sushi bar always acts as a connector between the kitchen and the dining room. “Once the bar is blocked in, the layout of everything else automatically falls into place,” Shawn Sullivan, project manager of Nobu 57 and principal at the Rockwell Group, says. The kitchen and bar are placed side by side, with ovens and a tempura fryer in between, allowing the sushi and kitchen chefs to work together, and ensuring that food is prepared in sequence and never sits for long between stations. Nobu also specifies that its bars be low to allow customers a better view of the theatrical preparation of sushi as well as leveling the bar seats with those of the dining tables.

Unlike the original restaurant, Nobu 57 has a liquor bar, which is backlit and made from a slab of white onyx with rough-hewn edges, giving it the feel of a hand-cut piece. The emphasis on handmade organic materials is carried into the bathrooms, where the Tectum acoustic-paneled ceiling has a look of dried ramen noodles and sinks carved from a solid block of stone are polished only on the inside. Each bathroom also includes a wall panel composed of river rock—another nod to the original Nobu design.

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