“Adam converts people,” is how Robin’s chef owner Adam Tortosa’s omakase has been described. The beauty of this style of restaurant is there is no menu. Diners are encouraged to try something they might not otherwise, and to experience something out of the ordinary. This may also have been the desire of Presidio Bay when they convinced Adam and his partner Michael Huffman to open a version of their San Francico Hayes Valley Michelin Guide-listed Robin in 2,000 sqft of their new 386,087 sq ft building in Menlo Park.
With Tortosa’s strong eye and great team of artisan friends it was easy to keep the “decadent, street cool, moody” feel of the original Robin. The challenge was the new site and how to make dining on a four-lane commercial stretch of El Camino Real a “thoughtfully personalized” experience. We were eager to design a space that would transport guests so that the busy road beyond was forgotten and the focus was the meal.
The architecture is primarily a wall between the street and the restaurant. A large boulder and a slit window in the wall are the only hints of the space beyond. Within the restaurant, materials have texture and substance: charred wood, warm leather, dark stone, and plaster walls. The simplicity of the palette and expression allow the sushi bar and a custom Lizarraga mural (both larger scaled nods to the original Robin) to be center stage.
The intimacy of the experience is not lost in this larger location. Instead, the extra space allowed improved functionality and program. A much larger kitchen and generous drink station improve the flow and a private dining room allows behind-the-scenes views and an exclusive experience of chef Tortosa’s own Tsukemono.
Our shop fabricated the logo, custom wait stations, and even bathroom shelves, and the wooden sushi plates.