Sensorium, Bryon Brown’s multi-disciplinary modernist pop-up restaurant, started construction last Friday, as Brown’s team began assembling the frame of the temporary venue’s geodesic dome structure.
By Monday, the entranceway and kitchen were in place, and it was possible to get a better idea of what the structure will eventually look like when it opens April 12. Judging by the fact that a Groupon for half-price tickets sold out yesterday, I’m guessing many of you might be interested in how things are looking. Here are some of the photos I took when I stopped by to chat with Brown about the project.
Located near Yards Park, a few blocks east of Nationals Park on the Southeast waterfront, Sensorium will be located in a fairly open area. Brown and his team are excited about the contrast between the tranquil riverfront that faces the restaurant, and the old industrial works that sit behind it:
I can’t say that I was overwhelmed by the framework of the dome. It didn’t feel like enough space, and I wondered how Brown planned on fitting 30 seats and a stage inside.
By the time I revisited the site on Monday, however, the team had applied the skin to the frame, and it made a huge difference. I was surprised by how much larger the interior space felt once removed from the contrast of the open landscape surrounding it.
It’s also becoming more clear how the sensory dining experience will work logistically. Two hexagonal doorways link spaces at the front and rear of the dome with the dining area.The long tent in front will serve as a waiting area, where guests will sip on cocktails before they are ushered in.
The large square tent behind it will be the kitchen. “This is actually the first kitchen I’ve been able to build myself,” Brown told me. With Artisa, the roaming supper club that Brown made his name with, he has always relied on the kitchens wherever he was serving, cooking many of his components in advance to make up for on-site deficiencies. Not so at Sensorium, he says: “I will really been able to stretch what I can do here.”