There are a lot of things to like about Greg Baxtrom’s Brooklyn restaurant Olmsted. The food aside, there’s the friendly service, the warmly lit cozy-but-not-cramped space, and smores in the garden. But my favorite of all the touches that make Olmsted more than just another neighborhood restaurant might be the dishes. And it’s the cups, which come in an array of brightly colored and multi-textured porcelain, that I most want to take home.
Handmade ceramics are the tableware of choice for plenty of well-designed restaurants these days, but Olmsted’s tumblers stand out from the neutral stoneware at other restaurants following the trend. Some cups have spiraling grooves, others a knobby checked pattern, and others are engraved with a pineapple motif (my personal favorite). They’re slightly whimsical, entirely cheerful, and make even drinking water as enjoyable as the rest of a meal at Olmsted.
The tumblers — along with Olmsted’s plates, bowls, pitchers, and other dishes — are from Santimetre, a design studio founded by Tulya Madra. Madra designed interiors and furniture before making the switch to ceramics, and porcelain in particular, around nine years ago. The pieces are still handmade by a small team in Ayvalık, Turkey, a town on the Aegean Sea that serves as the inspiration for Santimetre’s vivid reds, blues and greens.
But Greg Baxtrom didn’t need to travel to Turkey to find the ideal ceramic complements to his playful cooking. While the brand doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store here (there used to be one in New York’s Soho neighborhood), it does most of its U.S. business through custom online orders, letting customers pick their desired patterns and colors from among dozens of possibilities.
In the coming year, Madras plans to open an online store featuring an edited selection of items; and just last month, she opened a showroom in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where New Yorkers can make appointments to see — and purchase — the goods.
Alas, they’re not cheap, to put it mildly. But for the person who wants to imbue even simple acts with aesthetic delight, Santimetre tumblers will do the trick and then some.
Buy Santimetre Beykoz Glasses, starting at $70