An Emerald Green Sushi Counter and One-Off Parrot Wallpaper Turn This Tiny Bar Into a Jewel Box
The sushi that chef Jeff Miller makes in New York City highlights overlooked fish from local waters, steering away from the unsustainable overfishing of the usual suspects found on sushi platters the world over. His unconventional marriage of Japanese tradition with American produce became part of the interior design brief for Anna Polonsky of the Brooklyn-based studio Polonsky & Friends when imagining Bar Miller, an omakase restaurant and the teenier sibling of award-winning Rosella, located across Tompkins Square Park in New York’s East Village. Locally procured, hand-crafted pieces honor Bar Miller’s focus on sustainability and provenance while the materials chosen for fittings subtly reference Japanese decor.
The main attraction, and taking up the most real estate in this 250 square foot, eight-seater trove is the omakase bar made from Avocatus Quartzite in deep green with swirls of white. In a traditional layout, it doubles as an eating counter on the outer perimeter and a kitchen counter on the inner, where the chefs prepare delicate morsels on fresh plates they can pull out from the nifty vertical, wooden storage slats behind them. The open kitchen allows for guests to be personally guided through the 15-course omakase menu. Shiny maroon cabinets distinguish a prep area from the emerald dining space: jewel tones for a jewel box.
Polonsky & Friends, who also designed Rosella, sought to bring the same warmth to Bar Miller, which they achieved with walls wrapped in natural oak and rich burl wood panels. Another link to the original restaurant is the one-off wallpaper running parallel to the bar which features a painting of an eastern rosella bird by illustrator Hollie M Kelley in Australia — the home of these colorful parrots. The generous bar stools (it takes some time to consume 15 courses) were made by artisanal furniture makers Maderas Collective and the hand-built ceramic vases are by Polonsky’s husband, Fernando Aciar of fefostudio. Sea creatures by artist Claire Dufournier float around the rice paper lantern in the bathroom, and a pendant light made from molded glass tinted with scallop shells by Pablo Bolumar hangs above the length of the bar; all treasures to be found behind the inconspicuous solid white oak front door that opens in from the street.
PHOTOS BY NICOLE FRANZEN