Modern Japanese concept Taru has debuted as the latest entry to Midtown Manhattan’s fine dining landscape. Crafted by BLANK Design, the intimate eatery is a study in Japanese aesthetics, from contemporary to traditional. The neighboring Baccarat Hotel also informed the design, which poetically draws from the natural world as well.
“We started to think of the Baccarat on the upper floor as the sun and the restaurant space on the first floor as the moon; to wit, the light of the moon against sunlight to create splendid moonlight,” says BLANK project director Aki Miyazono. “In the aesthetic expression of Japanese culture, we employed ‘subtraction’ rather than ‘addition,’ deliberately avoiding many extravagant materials, staying instead with natural and organic materials.”
Stone, wood, and soil anchor the noble materiality and infuse warmth across an interior sexily awash in dim light. Curved shelving installed above the bar positions spirit bottles in the latticework as beacons aglow.
Inspired by the four seasons, Taru is oriented into four corresponding areas, beginning with the lively and invigorated arrival experience, reminiscent of spring. The main dining room echoes summer with its warmth, while the split-shadows and harvest festival-style accents in the semi-private dining booths recall autumn.
Finally, the calm atmosphere of the 10-seat omakase counter embodies the winter complete with an ikebana treatment made from a wisteria vine serving as a focal point upon one wall. Bonding the many influences from the natural world is a bonsai tree installed at the heart of the dining room beneath hanging globe lights.