Kaido and AMA, a dream brought to life by designer Mark Alan Diaz of M.A.D. Design Group Co. and James Beard Award-nominated chef and restauranteur Brad Kilgore, evokes a mystical vibe inspired by Tokyo-style dens the two visited while on a trip to Japan in 2018.
Described by Diaz as a ‘hyper-focused, sense-oriented exploration of sight and taste,’ the trip proved to be an invigorating exercise that allowed the duo to inspire each other while teaching the other how they each experience the world.
“Brad is very hands-on in all that he does, as am I,” said Diaz. “However, we each allow the other to paint our own canvas, in our own worlds. Though our methods of communicating are different, mine being sight and his being taste, we both have one interesting parallel – we approach it like artists.”
It’s rare for a restaurant’s interior aesthetic, menu items, and tableware to cohesively work together, but at Kaido and AMA, every detail has been carefully crafted and exceptionally executed by the two leading creatives in their respective fields. From the Uni Fondue served in a white shell-like bowl, to the rustic porthole frames and light fixtures, and the shimmering floor reminiscent of a mermaid’s tail, the space immediately transports you to Japan.
“To quote my Sensai Kancho Cameron Shane, ‘The way you do one thing is the way you do everything,’” said Diaz. “In terms of Kaido and AMA, every detail was dreamt and brought into reality, one inspiration at a time.”
Creating various dining settings, the 2,200-square-foot Kaido offers guests a different experience during each visit. The second-floor space consists of an outdoor patio facing Paradise Plaza, a dimly lit indoor lounge, and AMA – an intimate bar accessible via a concealed entrance.
The private 12-seat hidden bar honors the Hokkaido’s mermaid-like free divers who scoured the ocean floor for sea urchins and pearls. From the shimmering resin-filled floor of two-toned blue and gold fabric resembling iridescent fish scales to the sea-inspired shell chandeliers that bring a sense of delicate femininity to the bar, Ama captures the essence of luxury teahouses and legendary fish markets.
Inside the main indoor lounge, you’re introduced to the dark and edgy world of Japanese nightlife and entertainment. Above the bar hangs a massive chandelier made of 1,200 gold butterfly knives – Mark’s rendition of a Japanese sea urchin.
Kaido and AMA was the first restaurant concept the two have created together, but it won’t be their last. Chef Brad Kilgore is opening up another Design District eatery, Ember, this spring – also designed by Mark Alan Diaz.
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