If you’ve ever walked into a shop where you’ve wanted to hold every little thing because of its finery, craftsmanship, and design, 50 Norman will make you feel like a kid in a candy shop.
The new Japanese eatery and market located at (you guessed it) 50 Norman Street just had its soft opening, and Greenpointers got to visit and take in the extremely well-curated ceramics, ingredients, and household tchotchkes.
The shop is divided into three segments: Cibone (pottery), Dashi Okume (broths and its fix-ins), and House (an intimate counter toward the back that will feature seven-course tasting dishes starting next month). Set in what seems to be a former garage, 50 Norman is a sprawling complex where the goods are curated, refined, and (depending on what you buy) pricy.
A 1.8 kg bag of Ginsen by Sumidaya Japanese rice will run you $70, but that rice is grown by experienced farmers, polished by a Rice Meister, and handsomely packaged. Not all items are so expensive, but by god, they are all gorgeous. There’s jars of nori boiled in soy sauce, kinako ball snacks, and a dashi (broth) bar where you can choose ingredients — from dried scallops and shitake mushrooms to multiple kinds of kelp — to flavor your own stock.
And the pottery and home supplies are equally precious. Copper garlic graters in the shape of animals, wooden blocks carved into colorful cars, porcelain wasabi containers, and ceramic tea cups reveal the dexterous hands that made them. There’s also a host of large Japanese cookbooks and coffee table books.
Architect Jo Nagasaka designed the space, which features high ceilings, exposed brick that’s been painted white, and warm hanging bulbs that are only rivaled by the generous natural light pouring in through the garage door windows. Whether or not you buy something (and it’ll be hard to step in and not indulge), it’s absolutely a delectable space just to be in.
First let me say as a traditionalist, I find this place silly, over the top and snobby.
Having said that as a historian I also know that people who push the envelope in any profession can advance society.
The future will determine which side of me will be right.
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