Red Umami is a proposal for an upscale restaurant in the Short North of Columbus, Ohio. Featuring two-star Michelin chef, Dominique Crenn, this restaurant design is harmonious with Crenn’s narrative of dishes. When asked about her menu, Crenn explains, “I’m not serving a menu, I’m serving a story, I’m serving my soul, I’m serving a conversation and I want you to talk back and dialogue with me”. Red Umami emphasizes this dialogue not only through food, but also through the experiential and sensorial journey each guest will have within the space.
When arriving at Red Umami, guests will first be greeted by staff and by the immersive artwork of Dominique’s poetry on the wall facing them. They will then be assisted to their table, whether it be a more casual seat at the gathering table for an event, a formal table in the open dining room, or a larger reservation in the private dining room.
Next, guests will be handed a menu in the form of a hand-written poem. Each of the 16 lines of the poem corresponds to a dish representing that narrative. Each course, such as “it was a summer of unlimited sweet bites”, is meant to trigger memories inside people using poetic language, artistic presentation, and rich flavors and scents.
Guests are encouraged to pair their meals with a glass or bottle of wine from the elaborate list, and can take advantage of hand-picked recommendations from the restaurant’s in-house wine cellar.
When a table is finished dining, guests are encouraged to stay and mingle. They can relax in a chair by the fireplace, finish a glass of wine, and visually partake in the kitchen’s staging of dishes. Similarly, Dominique can see guests sitting in the lounge and will typically come over to introduce herself.
Each stage of this journey is one added layer in the poetic connections that Red Umami wishes every guest to experience and remember.