Housed in the ground floor of the Textile Building, completed in 1901 to the designs of Henry J. Hardenbergh, this luxurious but intimate interior is the result of a close collaboration between the architect, the restauranteur Phil Suarez, and the master chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. Together, the three have achieved a stimulating reinterpretation of the relationship between food, people, and space.
The restaurant is designed as an open space, divided into separate dining areas by large frosted glass panels. These individual spaces have built-in seating upholstered in leather and backed by panels of stainless steel mesh. The restaurant proper accommodates some 150 guests with an additional 25 lounge seats in the generous foyer. Ceiling covers conceal all the lighting throughout, assuring a warm and sensuous aura.
A 12-foot high curved glass wall defines the entry, while aquariums, filled with exotic fish, separate the main dining area from the kitchen, affording the guests an oblique view of the cooking process. The bar is concealed behind a frosted glass wall, which provides an unusual setup for bartenders who appear shadowlike, as they prepare drinks for the guests. Above a communal table, red silk banners depicting Chinese ideograms hang from large square coffers recessed in the ceiling.
The dining tables and the communal table are constructed of epoxy resin with stainless steel bases. Eames chairs and Bertoia stools complete the dining room furniture, while Cassina chairs and Eero Saarinen tables are used in the lounge.