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Restaurant We Love: Navy

by Grace Bonney

One of the perks of being married to someone who works in food is having an excuse to get out of the house more often and visit new restaurants and chefs. A few weeks ago, Julia and her best friend Cleo wanted to check out a very hot new restaurant that just opened up in downtown Manhattan called Navy. They’d interviewed Navy’s chef, Top Chef alum Camille Becerra, the year before and were singing her praises loudly. I’d been seeing photos of the interior on a few photographers’ Instagram accounts and knew it was a place I had to see – so Amy and I joined the friends for dinner.

To make a long story short, our meal at Navy lived up to the hype. I thought that would be impossible, but chef Camille is incredibly adept at turning unexpected flavor and food combinations into delicious meals. Truly delicious. Whether it’s a soft and flaky blue cheese biscuit with guava jam or black bass crudo with apple, lime yogurt and avocado, the food does not disappoint. But this is a design blog, so let me cut to the chase: this restaurant is a photographer and design-lover’s dream. While we were sitting at the table waiting for our group to arrive, it felt to me like we were living on the set of a French Wes Anderson film, set in Brooklyn. The restaurant (both in menu and aesthetics) has a maritime theme, with linen and sail canvas decorating the walls and brass rivets and canvas straps popping up in unexpected places. The blue and white boat-pattern tiles at the morning coffee bar are cute without trying too hard, but my favorite detail draws upon the boat theme in a more practical way: folding sinks.

Common on sailboats, folding sinks are something of a joy to behold (despite some styles looking a bit like a urinal). They are compact, fold up and down easily and make it simple to have a wider sink basin in a small space. Navy employs two – one in the photos here and one in the restroom. You can see it in action here on Grub Street.

The sinks are just one part of an incredible design story told in a relatively small space, so designers Akiva Elstein, Matt Abramcyk and Jeanette Dalrot deserve a huge round of applause for fitting so many fascinating (and beautiful) design details into this space. Bottom line? If you’re in NYC, Navy is a must-visit. The buzz has been building for a while, so call ahead and enjoy the view from your table and on your plate. Thanks so much to Camille, Maude and Tarajia and their team for having us over this week to shoot! xo, grace

[You can visit Navy online or at 137 Sullivan Street for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (212-­533-­1137)]

All photos by Maxwell Tielman

Click through for more photos after the jump

Additional Design details (by Akiva Elstein, Matt Abramcyk & Jeanette Dalrot):

-Antique Japanese Indigos as curtains (doors and front windows)
-French linen and vintage military canvas cover the walls
-Leather straps hold wine bottles in place
-Custom work jackets for workers made of denim and linen (by Lady and Butler)






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