Located at 56 Third Avenue, Manhattan, Lan sushi and grill bar is a restaurant with an indistinctive outlook, covered mainly in black color, and the name of the restaurant can hardly be seen either. But at the same time, an expanded glass allows people who have not visited to this restaurant can get an idea what they can experience with it. One may argue customers inside would feel like in a goldfish bowl, however that is what its design stands out.By looking out through the glass, customers inside will feel they are in a larger area, and most importantly by watching people outside suffering from chilling weather in winter, boiling temperature in summer, and all the hustle and bustle, that must have made customers feel immensely contented by enjoying their food and sipping with their wine inside. There are two doors at the entrance, the second door is on the right side after you get in the first door.
Again it is another bright idea to have two doors to prevent heat or wind from getting in the restaurant so efficiently by putting two doors in different direction.By all these thoughtful designs, you can tell it is operated by a Japanese owner because it has so much consideration of their customers. Mr. Kawamoto, a native Japanese, is the owner of Lan sushi and grill bar first told me the designer of his restaurant is also a Japanese. If you think the interior and decor of Lan restaurant must be a traditional Japanese with Tatami mats, bamboo walls and scroll painting hanging on the walls, then you will have an indifferent experience of what you had in other previous Japanese restaurants.The whole place is around 2,000 square feet with a drinking bar, a grill bar, a sushi bar, and approximately 18 tables scattered around the area. The design of the restaurant is inclined to blend with traditional Japanese simplicity and frugal in modern time. There is not a single painting on walls, not a piece of flamboyant furniture, or not the glamorous place you will ever meet but it is its unpretending and plain combination would make you feel welcomed.
Two pairs of chopsticks, two reddish napkins, and an adorning candle in a small glass constitute the essential tableware on each squared table.Plates or bowls will be served with varied dishes accordingly. Due to limited spaces, a several Shoji folding screens have been set up to provide privacy for customers. The quantity of everything inside Lan is minimized to achieve a neat and simple setting. In addition under the weak and gentleness of lightings, an inexplicable level of harmony has been brought out to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. Three different bars offer different dimensions of the restaurant. Mr. Kawamoto explained the drinking bar has contributed an awful lot to the whole set up of the restaurant.
The first idea to have a bar is due to the culture of Japanese because folks back in Japan likes to have a few beers after a pressured day from their work. However as customers were piling up waiting for tables one day, Mr. Kawamoto came up a flash of idea that using the bar to reduce the amount of waiting customers. This has been a successful way to keep the loss of customers since it was first introduced and personally I strongly feel this should be the way most restaurants should adopt in order to increase their revenue.I would not mind to say that it was this idea to make me stayed last time when I first visited, otherwise I can not see myself writing this paper now. The grill bar has a bench consists of 5-6 seats and 3 chefs.
From stopping the grease and smoke get to customers especially the ones right in front of the grill bar, it is surrounded by 4 enormous glass almost go up to ceiling and of course a smoke extractor is installed. The sushi bar has about the same seats as the grill bar and also has 3 chefs. The wall behind the chefs are made of greenish stalks allows customers have a comfortable scene while they are eating.A long, transparent rectangular fridge located across the table displays all the fresh fish and seafood.
The fridge also indicates the temperature inside the fridge is the right one. To maintain high quality of fresh seafood as it is paramount to a restaurant which sells sushi, the main chef visits five days a week to local fish markets and has fish delivered from Tokyo twice a week as well. A little pantry is on the path to kitchen, the pantry mainly includes a large refrigerator and a microwave. The refrigerator stores all the sauces for a variety of main dishes.I did not find any drinks in it because they are all stored in the bar section. The kitchen has 5 chefs for preparation of all the main dishes and appetizers, 2 dishwashers, stoves and surely a dishwasher machine. The temperature of the water inside the dishwasher is 100 C to efficiently kill off all the germs and dirt. I would not say they have the best hygiene or the tidiest kitchen I have seen, however everything from dishwasher to chef, appetizer to dessert, they strive for perfection to deliver the best food or the best hygiene they can provide.
Bathroom has become a vital element of a successful restaurant. Between the bathroom and the dinning area, there is a long and narrow but suitably allow two persons to walk through at the same time. Lan might not has the tidiest kitchen but certainly has one of the cleanest bathroom. At least it is true for male washroom! The bathroom filled with two huge mirror behind the shinning faucet. Towels and soaps are well placed on the dry earth-toned tiles.A potted orchid is put next to the sink which tries to take away the uncleanness impression of bathrooms. The bathroom only permits one person at a time which is something new for man! As we all know Japan is renowned with their technology.
I am not sure how many restaurants are using a similar cashier machine as Lan does. I was amazed to see a touch-screen computerized cashier. Its function is not merely with receipt of cash, it also lists out everyday’s sales, a monthly account report, employee’s check in/out time, item availability and so on.With a tiny little thing as big as a VCR, it is shocking to know the massy amount of work it can carry out. Instead of all complicated and burdensome paperwork, the teeny computer does it all. Tidiness is a fundamental part in any Japanese restaurant according to Mr. Kawamoto. “Being tidy always give out the impression of respect to customers” said Mr.
Kawamoto. Each working staff in Lan almost has a spotless uniform from what I saw, even dishwashers in the kitchen. Talk about service and working ethic, I would say Japanese are second to none.Other than using its bar to reduce waiting time for tables, Lans has a hanging area for customer’s coat. They also hold a meeting each week to discuss the past week collective performance thereby to improve their service, attitude or efficiency of work. Besides services, Lan have also done a little work on saving the planet by placing recycled papers on the top of each tablecloth.
Thus it limits tablecloths from washing and restraints more detergent flowing to the sea. Being an Asian I always admire Japanese innovative technology and their work ethic.By visiting Lan gives me an insight of how Japan people work as a team in a very disciplined system.
I was very impressed by the whole experience and gained an invaluable experience from Mr. Kawamoto. Here I pay my highest respect to Mr. Kawamoto not just because he kindly accept my visit to his restaurant but because he holds an idea to have emphasis on all races of people. Lan do not only serve Japan people, it also serves people from all over the world and the big picture of this is the halt of discrimination.