Best Restaurant Décor - 2009
Zed451 - CLOSED
Maybe you have a weakness for guitar players. Or gangsters. Or celebrity chefs. But contemplating architect Chris Smith's design for Zed451 might just get you hooked on dudes who do singular things with vaulted ceilings, glass panels, and reflecting pools — for here is a space so full of magic and mystery that it's calculated to make any girl go "oooooh." The décor of this Boca outpost of Zed's Chicago-based chain — where one fixed price buys you a steady stream of meats, fish, and multiple trips to a central "harvest table" — is varied enough to yield multiple surprises. The rectangular central bar is neither indoors nor out but set in a nebulous limbo, so patrons sipping martinis on either side can contemplate how the other half plays. Opt for en plein air and you'll find yourself on a patio where a continuous, raised waterway recedes in the distance, banquettes snuggled alongside. Inside, every table occupies a corner of intimacy and repose with 360-degree views — warm colors, soft pillows, and cunningly arranged screens. A transparent wine room provides the illusion of a wall without the solidity. It's as if the designers have grasped exactly what makes us tick. As much as we might cherish our privacy or want to burrow away like a clutch of hamsters, we human beings are nosy, curious beasts, voyeurs with a hungry eye. Once we tear ourselves away from the salad bar, we can't stand to miss a trick.