In San Sabino, New York Gets the Buttery Yellow Restaurant Interior It Needs

Perhaps not since the late De Maria — an all-day café whose interiors were designed by Anna Polonsky and Amy Morris before the two went their separate ways — has a downtown New York restaurant captured the current aesthetic zeitgeist the way GRT Architects’ design for the West Village Italian restaurant San Sabino does. After butter yellow’s long and winding ascent to the top, finally we get a restaurant interior with that hue as the star. And it was well worth the wait — San Sabino is the next-door sibling to Don Angie, the still-too-hot-for-a-reservation restaurant in the West Village also designed by GRT Architects. But where that space has extremely chic elevated trattoria vibes, San Sabino has elements that read almost like a diner, at least during the daylight hours. There are the round, leather-topped bar stools; the stainless steel accents like a ceiling “crown” and metal-trimmed booth seating; and oh, that laminate. “We picked the laminate first,” says GRT Architects partner Rus Mehta. “It was a winner for both function and aesthetics. There are only a couple of materials that can wrap tight radius curves with few seams, and fewer still that can do it at a reasonable cost. We liked it for its slight texture and sheen, and its humble beginnings.” That the stools and paint are nearly a dead match is simply icing on the buttercream cake.