Reserve the private alcove at Omido for your next get-together, and on its ceiling you’ll find no less than 10,000 “omikuji,” rice-paper strips of approximately three inches by eight inches. Visitors to Shinto temples draw them at random in order to ascertain their fortunes, but Adam Farmerie, of design firm AvroKo, says that when he put them up, he wasn’t taking any chances with bad luck. When temples refused to sell to him directly because he was a Westerner who lived outside of Japan, he asked one of his Japanese colleagues to have her mother buy them in bulk in Tokyo and send him only the “good to average luck” fortunes. He didn’t want contractors hanging them, so, for three days, five AvroKo employees tied them up according to Japanese tradition. “It turned out to be more of a pain in the butt to install than we initially thought,” he says. “It was trying at times.” With the help of some effervescent backlighting, however, it turned out quite nicely — clearly a stroke of good fortune.
Yesterday, we brought news that Chris Eddy, owner of barmarché, has plans for the Forty Deuce space; today, Eddy tells us that he’ll be joined in the venture by Omido chef-owner and founding SushiSamba chef Eliji “Taka” Takase. “We’ve been trying to do a restaurant for ten years now,” Eddy says. Can we assume that AvroKo, designers of Omido and owners of nearby Public, will be on board? Nothing is final yet, but it’s a very good assumption. Eddy plans to open in summer and says that, although certain neighbors are concerned about rising property values, he’s working with them and has been assured by the community board that, if he agrees to certain concessions, he’ll have a liquor license by February. Wherever Ivan Kane is these days, he must be sick with envy.
Related:Chris Eddy of Barmarché and industry (food) Goes After Forty Deuce Space
AvroKO, the firm that designed newly opened Omido, among others, is in the process of locking down a new restaurant space near the Bond Street location it abandoned after community protest, and partner Adam Farmerie tells us it could be ready to open in as little as four months. In the meantime, you’ll be able to explore the world of AvroKO in print when the firm publishes its first book, Best Ugly, on February 19. The 265-page tome profiles six restaurants, starting with raw-space snapshots and moving on to floor plans, process sketches, and sexy interior shots. Readers will also get an eye into what inspired the designs (the wall at Stanton Social, for instance, is modeled after deconstructed suit jackets). Our advice: Keep this beauty off your coffee table, or you’ll be tempted to go splurge at Public every time you pick it up.
Liquor Marketing Gimmick #2,391— randomly hand out awards! Tonight Chopin Vodka honors eight “Unconventional Geniuses,” and among them are Wylie Dufresne, the AvroKo design firm, and (per the press release) “pioneer in the pastry movement” Will Goldfarb. Apparently a whopping three-eighths of today’s unconventional geniuses are associated with the restaurant world! (Non-chef picks include director John Cameron Mitchell and artist Kenny Scharf, if you're looking for perspective.) You’ll have to attend the party tonight at Peter White Studio to find out what the top-secret award looks like, but, as a point of reference, Johnnie Walker’s “30 Under 30” (none of them chefs) received personally engraved bottles of Johnnie Black. Dare to dream, unconventional geniuses!
We’re hearing that at last night’s full CB2 meeting, the board unanimously accepted the business committee’s earlier vote to recommend denying Ivan Kane’s application for a liquor license at 19 Kenmare. Kane, who was not present, was presumably in Vegas easing his nerves in front of a pair of pasties. It remains to be seen whether Kane will continue pursuing the space, where he has started and stopped construction.
AvroKO, the architectural and restaurant team behind Public, is planning to open a new eatery at 26-28 Bond Street, not far from Ian Schrager’s forthcoming condos at 40 and 48 Bond. Unlike Forty Deuce, they received the go-ahead (albeit in a split decision, after much debate) from CB2’s business committee last night. AvroKO’s Adam Farmerie filled us in on his plan for the 100-seat restaurant, under the working name Superior.
Astoria: Anthony Bourdain featured Ali’s Kebab Cafe on No Reservations, and here’s the video of him downing offal. [Joey in Astoria]
Boerum Hill: Workers are renovating the old Independence Bank for Trader Joe’s. The space may even retain its character! [Lost City]
East Village: AvroKO and Public boys Brad and Adam Farmerie hope to score a liquor license for their new place, Superior. B Flat applied for a license at the same Bond Street space a few months back and was denied. [Eater] E.U. will accept euros as payment from August 24 through Labor Day. You can eat 34 cents more on the dollar! [Grub Street]
Financial District: Stonehouse California Olive Oil has moved to the South Street Seaport and refills bottles at $2 off the regular price. [NYT]
Hell’s Kitchen: No free Cuban for you today; unfinished construction indicates the new Sophie’s on 40th between Seventh and Eighth is in no way ready for a grand opening. [Midtown Lunch]
On limo-lined 58th Street, two nouveau steakhouses face each other in a bizarre game of Spy vs. Spy. The white spy: bright, cheery Quality Meats of the Wollensky empire, designed by the whiz kids at AvroKO. The black spy: Chodorow’s infamous Kobe Club, a noirish trip that resembles a Tarantino stage set. Each has its bag of trick s— QM’s meat-hook chandeliers! KC’s samurai swords!— but the nukes in their arsenals are, of course, the restrooms. After you’ve finished a 64-ounce growler of Quality beer or a $225 bowl of Kobe punch, you’re going to need to use 'em. So let’s take a look.
When it comes to designing bathrooms, the guys at AvroKo are the bomb. We still have the bars of soap we pocketed as souvenirs of our visit to Public. So what about the design firm’s latest spot? As you’ll recall, European Union had to wait a while for its wine and beer license, presumably because residents of 4th Street were afraid that drunken patrons would end up peeing on their stoops. Poppycock! Who would do such a thing with facilities like these in house?
For every high-profile restaurant architect like David Rockwell or AvroKO, there’s an underappreciated artisan like Louise Fili. One of several people whose work is being honored by the Society of Illustrators at an exhibition opening tonight at the Museum of Illustration, Fili creates restaurant logos. Her elegant, Art Nouveau– and Art Deco–inspired designs give the Mermaid Inn, Artisanal, Pigalle, and Sfoglia, whose logo is exceptionally lovely and ornate, their trademark markings. A collection of her work can be viewed here; the museum exhibit runs through the 27th.
"Letter as Image, Image as Letter," Museum of Illustration, 128 E. 63rd St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-838-2560.
It’s not every restroom that wins a James Beard Award, but design firm AvroKO clinched one when they remodeled a former warehouse in the style of a fifties municipal building, using mechanized pullies, a card catalog, and post office boxes–cum–bottle holders. The result was Public. We thought the restaurant’s new lounge, the Monday Room, was a good enough excuse to drop in, No. 2 pencils sharpened, and ponder those award-winning loos.