The hosts at the top of the stairs at Nobu Fifty Seven in New York City stood like ushers in a theater. Alas, there were no seats at the sushi bar and no standing room either. But before retreating downstairs to the exit, my niece Madeleine and I paused to take in the scene.
Designed by David Rockwell, who has also—perhaps not coincidentally—created sets for such Broadway shows as Hairspray and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the space was a seductively lit black box large enough to require opera glasses to see all the diners seated on the two levels. What a spectacle! Abalone-shell chandeliers, Japanese rope panels and columns of sake barrels towering to the ceiling! It was a little Madame Butterfly and a little Miss Saigon, with a dash of Blade Runner too. We left through a walnut door resembling a gnarled tree.
’Wow,’ said Madeleine, a well-traveled Manhattan teenager. ’That was intense.’