The suburban residents of Nassau County on New York’s Long Island can be pretty sophisticated about restaurants. Not only do they have access to Manhattan’s finest cuisine, but they have the means to travel to all the other dining capitals of the world: San Francisco, Paris, Rome, Tokyo.
So the bar was set high for a new Japanese restaurant in the town of Massapequa, near the busy Westfield Sunrise Mall. “We needed an environment that would impress and appeal to a crowd that has seen and tasted everything,” says Doug Horst, principal and creative director of Horst Design Intl. (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.).
The appeal to that crowd begins with the name of the restaurant, referencing Tokyo’s busy and trendy fashion shopping district. The interior design is a subtle match for the name, a modern and contemporary interior of black and crimson with a 75-foot illuminated ceiling treatment that leads diners through the space. A backlit sushi bar fabricated from a recycled translucent resin material in a frosted crimson finish can be seen through a glass façade from outside the restaurant.
On the outside are 28-foot-high arbors made of 18-inch lodge pole pine timbers with screens of cascading aluminum chains illuminated at night by LEDs.
“Ginza translated means ‘silver mint,’ ” says Horst, “and so the exterior of the building is adorned with polished stainless-steel panels and black Japanese tile sticks.”
Inside, the dominant interior elements are eight terracotta Asian warriors, displayed in museum-like cases, reminiscent of the famous Terracotta Army figures of the 3rd Century B.C. that were unearthed by some Chinese farmers in 1974.
There are also graphics of the modern, busy Ginza at night and day, juxtaposed with a montage of 100-year-old photos of the district. Carts and pedestrians roamed among the two-story buildings. Even then, says Horst, Ginza was a vibrant neighborhood of commerce and good eating.