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Home > NOTEWORTHY DINING > New York City Noteworthy Dining > Rouge Tomate > Space
Located at 10 E. 60th St., in the building that previously housed the Beaux Arts Hotel, which was built in 1902, as well as the Copacabana nightclub, reputed nighttime destination of the Mob, Rouge Tomate's entrance is marked by a large red flag. The front door is atop several small steps, although there also is an elevator from the street into the dining room that makes the restaurant wheelchair-accessible. Bentel & Bentel, the design firm behind several of Danny Meyer's restaurants, designed Rouge Tomate -- and it shows. Upon entry you are greeted on the left by a woven white oak cabinet that's framed in dark walnut and holds several glass vases. The entire cabinet is shaped like ribbons. Directly in front of you is a red wall with a maitre d' station that's framed in white oak, the right half of it featuring a dark rectangular shape. Toward the left is a luminous, golden-red copy of the restaurant's logo, which comprises 16 red squares. Toward the right, meanwhile, you'll notice for the first time that Rouge Tomate is a bi-level restaurant, as you can see directly down to the bottom floor. Further right are three 18-foot murals featuring blown-up photographs of trees. Located between each of three windows bridging the two floors, they bring a bit of the outdoors inside, which is appropriate since the restaurant is situated just steps from Central Park with its multitude of trees and foliage.

Slightly to the right is Rouge Tomate's upstairs dining room. A glass screen directly to the right, before the windows, separates the top-level dining room from the two-story dining room that's downstairs. The result: It looks as if the restaurant's second floor is suspended in mid-air. Toward the far right of the restaurant is a 78-foot wall with slats of white oak by Mark Richey Woodworking that's lit from behind by LED lights, which last for approximately 100 years and consume just one-third of the energy of a traditional incandescent light bulb. The wall reaches from 3 or 4 feet off the floor downstairs to the ceiling upstairs, unifying both levels. Halfway up it, the wall includes cubby-holes with glass boxes that are filled with seasonal d├ęcor, fruits and vegetables, a feature that's duplicated downstairs. Upstairs, a row of booths graces the wall, which is separated from the bar by two rows of free-standing tables. The bar, which is located on the left side of the room, seats 15; behind it is the tomato-colored juice bar that's framed on either side by a glass wine cellar. The bar, which is semicircular with a light oak top and an alternating light and dark wood base, serves a full menu. Tables are bare because the restaurant wants to showcase the beauty of the sustainable wood in its dining room, and because it wants to promote green business practices by conserving the water and energy that would otherwise be required to launder tablecloths. The ceiling in the upstairs dining room is inspired by the original Rouge Tomate in Brussels, which is filled with skylights that attracted natural light. Here, instead of skylights, there are square cutouts in a dropped portion of the ceiling. Spotlights behind these and to the sides provide illumination instead of sunlight. The floor is light oak that's framed by dark walnut. If you look from the back of the upstairs dining room toward the 60th Street entrance, you'll see the oversized windows and the tops of the aforementioned tree murals, which even on a blustery New York day can make you feel like you're in a garden.
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