Two years ago, Grace and Jack Lamb were just another fast-track couple in Manhattan. She was an executive at Tiffany who'd gone from summer jobs at the Fifth Avenue emporium to being director of "statement jewelry"--the drop-dead pieces that Holly Golightly craved. And he was a slightly manic mover who believed anything was possible--escaping from Detroit into the Army, working his way through law school as a captain at Bouley Bakery and Danube and landing a job in the mayor's office.
Some people might have been satisfied. But Grace and Jack, both 32, had other dreams. In January of 2001, Jack spied a FOR LEASE sign on the storefront opposite the house in the East Village they'd just bought. When he asked the landlord if she'd allow him to turn the former video store into a restaurant, she said, "Fine...but I don't want a lot of cooking and craziness--I don't want French, I don't want Italian, I don't want Mexican, and I don't want Chinese..." Thinking quickly, Jack asked, "Sushi?"
Done. Primed by visions of a stylish little oasis, Grace resigned from Tiffany and the Lambs used up their savings to hire an architect and renovate. The modernist facade looks slightly mysterious: The window is backed by a curtain of dark concrete suspended above a rock garden. The interior of the 30-seat restaurant is a shrine to Japanese cuisine, with a softly backlit arched bamboo wall that runs the length of the room, alongside banquettes in tea-green velvet and tables of blond wood.