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The Fat Radish

Situated in a location that’s a little off the beaten track in the Lower East Side, the restaurant is surrounded by shops that flip their sign to “closed” early in the day.  The hidden location doesn’t seem to deter any of the food aficionados and long-haired men in clever button downs and Sergeant Pepper blazers.

The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

“What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.” – Samuel Beckett

Part of the “No Farm, No Food” – locavore movement, the Fat Radish describes itself as, “… a simple, elegant and airy room that still retains the industrial feel of London’s original Covent Garden marketplace. The cuisine does not fall into one particular category but rather returns to a way of eating before food was constantly classified. The menu is bound by one philosophy , simple, healthy, delicious dishes created with well-sourced, seasonal ingredients.” The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Nothing says ‘classy’ quite like a branded trucker hat. The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Fat Radish Silkstone

Silkstone, a creative agency in New York City, designed the restaurants slightly dilapidated but clever decor. When the owners began creating the restaurant in 2010 they were faced with a challenge – how do you a turn an old Lower East Side building (that was formally a sausage factory) into a light and airy dining space? Sourcing the right materials was of utmost importance. With 1970s Covent Garden as an inspiration, the team used old barn wood, unique light fixtures, and renovated the original brick floors, achieving the goal of making the space feel open and light. Along with the challenge of the dining space, there was also the challenge of the kitchen; with no kitchen space existing, a full build out of one was necessary. The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

The eponymous radish table plate, rather than the usual crusty bread offering.The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Scotch Egg, cornichons, seeded mustard. The Fat Radish

Celery root pot pie, black garlic, gruyere cheese.

   The Fat Radish - Grilled Cheese

The Fat Radish

Kale Caesar Salad, Anchovy, Croutons, Bacon and Egg by candlelight.

The Fat Radish

The dessert menu…

The Fat Radish

Petite pot du creme.

The Fat Radish

My favorite aspect of the restaurant, as is with my entire life, a toss up between the food or the decor. Woody, rustic and comfortable with some Chinese graffiti (to pay tribute to its location) has me feeling as if I’m about to eat at an in-law’s quaint yet modern country home. The ambiance  is really lovely, and something I would like to replicate.

Sam Sifton from the New York Times puts it best, “The Fat Radish is a pleasant and pleasing restaurant for all this, however: a handsome young golden Labrador, camera-ready, hard not to like. To sit in its dining room as light plays off the huge mirror in back, candles flickering everywhere, eating rillettes and drinking wine, is to experience a small part of the New York that leads people here inexorably and always will.”

FatRadish Inspired Industrial Decor

1. Industrial Pendants – A run of larger 1940/50’s British industrial pendant lights by Maxlume, salvaged from a factory in the north of England. Cast aluminium with thick domed glass diffusers. We’ve left these lights in the original green paintwork, simply beeswaxing them to bring out the patina. Large runs of British industrial lighting like this a an increasing rarity.

2. Ayers Skull & Bones Decanter by Ralph Lauren Home. Feeling sinister? How about I mix you up some arsenic and old lace…

3. Candela Cube by Sonia Lartigue, 2010 from the Museum of Modern Art Design Store. This table lamp is made using traditional Mexican craft techniques. When lit, the mirrors create beautiful, geometric optical effects. Handmade. Requires one incandescent 25W bulb (bulb not included).

4. Sturdy and tough industrial table by Woodland Imports.

5.  Pewter Stoneware Large Covered Casserole Dish by Juliska.

6. Greengage Wall Clock – Quirky as the British industrial example that inspired it, this weathered wall clock will add good-natured gravitas to your kitchen or family room. Gracious green laminated face with metal hands. Quartz movement.

7. Bring home the elegance of French-inspired cutlery with this LeBrun Laguiole Ivory style set.

8. The silver, metallic stool is built of beautiful elm wood reclaimed from buildings and furniture pieces that graced the eclectic Qing dynasty. The piece is meticulously hand built and finished by time-honored craftsman utilizing over 120 different processes, by Madera Home Furniture.

What restaurant would you choose to live in?

 

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Panel Discussion

Avocado Stoves are probably my absolute favorite interior designing dinosaur left over from the 1970’s.  Close seconds include a fully wallpapered kitchen and orange formica countertops. Something about the aforementioned items will always feel trapped in a time warp. However, there has been an item from the seventies that is having an evolutionary  and fashionable resurgence – Wood Panelling.

(From Elmira Stove Works by Northstar.)

(Photo by Adrian on Flickr)

(This gaudy and match match interior was found in a 1971 Better Homes & Gardens via HERE.)

Panelling includes  any wall covering constructed from rigid or semi-rigid components. These are traditionally interlocking wood, but could be plastic or other materials. There are even specific names for the locking components: Tongue and Groove (which sounds like a great band name). In antiquity, wood panelling was first used to make cold stone walls more comfortable and inviting. The wood also served as insulation from the chilly castle walls or stone interiors. In more modern buildings, that did not need environmental insulations, the technique is mostly used for decoration – showing off ornate engraving, beveling, wainscoting (usually on oak), and as a way to show off contemporary artists of the day. The most intricate form of paneling is known as boiserie. As a note, and a fun future trivial pursuit or jeopardy answer, the word “wainscot” is from [wageschot, Dutch] and means the inner wooden covering of a wall (To wainscot [waegenschotten, Dutch], to line the walls with boards) – found here.

(Perhaps I should begin getting all of my fashion and interior design cues from JamesFranco.com? – which has not been updated in years. This is an image from the set of Freaks and Geeks , meant to take place in 1980, Michigan.)

(Note the wainscoting – from the set of That 70’s Show, meant to the place in 1976-1979 ,Wisconsin. Found Here.)

OK, now let us hop into the DeLeorean and reach speeds of 88 Miles Per Hour so that we can travel to the year 2012 where panelling has actually been reinvented. (How do I spell “panelling?” or “paneling” because neither is being corrected by autocorrect!? Are both right!? Interrobang!?) Modern panels often feature unfinished, untreated wood for a sleek, clean, and light wall.

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The Soup (er) Bowl

In the Flatiron District of NYC, at East 19th and Broadway, lies a distinctly curated shop of kitchen delights. One will find a total hodgepodge of fiesta flatware, discarded cutlery, crossword puzzle plates, ice cream shop bowls, sherbet dishes, printed aprons, gouache portraits, grandma’s cake stands, olive holders, lemon squeezes, decorate muddlers, glassware that once belonged to congressional members, vintage wedding plate samples, canning jars, antique high tea sets, Alice in Wonderland teapots, some things are chipped, everything is mismatched and topsy-turvy, but there are some amazing finds to be had. There is even a special SALE section in the back with which they stock items from previously closed restaurants.  Some things are chipped, everything is mismatched and topsy-turvy, but there are some unique and beautiful finds to be had! Here is what the owner of the space says about Fishs Eddy’s genuine roots and peculiar charm:

It was 1986 and we were driving around the back roads upstate New York (code for lost). We stumbled upon a small hamlet called Fishs Eddy. It was a perfectly odd name so we borrowed it for our just-opened shop near Gramercy Park.

Those early days were new and exciting, driving aimlessly (code for no map) in our dented light blue pick-up looking for interesting finds. One fortuitous trip landed us in an old barn that was storing mountains of restaurant dishware from a near-by manufacturer. This barn had been in a fire and it was filled with plates, bowls, platters, cups and saucers, creamers and gravy boats. And remarkably, every single soot-covered dish was intact! We asked the owner of the barn (oh and yes, he was wearing overalls) if we could buy a few pieces and he said, “take it all!” And so we did. We hauled the “ware” back to our city apartment, scrubbed non-stop for days and discovered patterns and shapes that were absolutely beautiful and truly classic; a real slice of American history! We shared the same thought that we were on to something special… and customers agreed.

Twenty-five years later Fishs Eddy has made its own history. Millions of edgy, unique and incredibly fun dishes and glasses have come in and out of our doors. That old blue pick up truck is now a big delivery truck with our logo (and a GPS!) Of course we still meander and let life take us to unexpected places (code for can’t figure out how to work the GPS.) But most importantly, we’re still true to our original vision: commercial quality dish and glassware with plenty of other things to make people smile.

After all these years, we are still happiest doing dishes!


When I go to a restaurant that has a certain theme – whether it be Japanese, American Nouveau, Italian, Southern Style, French, Malaysian – the flatware and dinnerware speaks volumes about what type of food and which style restauranteur is running the space. In a Southern, down-home-cooking restaurant, the bowls are usually filled with mix and match, shabby-chic, charm. The colors are light and airy like cotton candy. In a Japanese restaurant, often the vibe is a bit darker with square plates, raku style ceramics, and earthen glazes. In a traditional French restaurant the menus are written on chalkboard signs, the tablecloths are white, and the lighting has a dim-light, dome-like glow. This decor plays on obvious stereotypes of cultural influences, and historical nods to the food, decor, and style of a certain time, place, or location.

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