Black Pearl Chef’s Counter
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Size: 900 sf
An upscale metropolitan seafood and martini bar with a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, the Black Pearl opened Ann Arbor’s first chef’s counter. Located within the kitchen, guests are offered an immersive, one-on-one kitchen dining experience with the executive chef as he personally explains, prepares and serves the multi-course tasting menu in front of you.
Working with the chef and owners to design a lower-level kitchen that would enhance operational efficiency, offer an exclusive guest experience and serve as an additional source of revenue, the chef’s counter was designed with controlled sight lines and high-end materials such as walnut and maple, large format subway tile, porcelain, stainless steel and leather to delineate the small 700 sf kitchen and service areas into a public zone for guests and a kitchen zone for the cooks. The result is a transformed, intentional kitchen perspective for cooking and a chef’s counter for dining.
Dining at the chef’s counter is an active part of the design intent to stage the guests with a framed perspective allowing them to experience the actors of a commercial kitchen. The walnut and maple butcher block counter and seating area, cantilevered micro-greens planter and lighting frame the opening to the kitchen and centers the diners’ view on the chef.
O|X Studio also designed a glowing soffit to frame and direct guests toward the upstairs private dining room, which had previously been nondescript.