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Atera, NYC


Atera

Chef: Matthew Lightner
Cuisine: New American, Molecular Gastronomy
Neighborhood: Tribeca
Price: $150 tasting menu, extensive wine/drink list
Address: 77 Worth Street, NY, NY 10013
Phone: 212-226-1444
Hours: Tues-Sat 6pm-9:30pm

Conveniently located a block from Jen’s and my apartment, Atera has been on our wishlist from its inception. We had been lucky enough to try Compose, the former occupant of that space, before it closed and loved the creative molecular gastronomy take on the dishes. And unlike Compose (no offense), Atera seemed to be garnering rave reviews from everyone around, so we just needed an occasion to drop the money for the tasting menu. Upon finding such an occasion, we also got iPav in for an evening of 28 courses (true story) and some delicious cocktails and wine. We loved the food, so although the commentary below sounds snarky, know that the courses were still delicious. We were just trying to take the complex gastronomical inventions and simplify into our everyday food jargon.

A word to the wise: this meal is not for the faint of heart. It takes serious dedication to finish all the courses which we appropriately dubbed as our #firstworldproblems.

The chef behind the restaurant hails from grub world’s famous Noma of Copenhagen and Castagna in Oregon. In the blogosphere his name has recently been attached mostly to the trendy “foraging” cuisine, which is the new it thing in the food world. Locavore eating is not enough, the new black is wrestling bears for their food, consulting an ancient almanac, and just generally zenning out. Trust me, I’m all for it — I like my food to have a story that is set in a majestic forest rather than in a meth lab (which is how I picture most mass produced food plants). But I digress. Chef Lightner brings his creativity and love for fresh ingredients to the restaurant and really lets his talents shine in every course. The communal table seating around the open kitchen only serves to accentuate the experience, placing you almost at the cooking station itself, as part of the process.

Special shout out goes to the General Manager Eamon who emailed us (as he promised) the wine label from a Sauternes we particularly liked. Also word of warning, this post is very photo heavy — the courses were just too beautiful to skip photos.

AMUSES

Beer and cheese macaroon, cascade hops
It’s kinda exactly what it sounds like



Flax seed and coriander cookie, nut butter, mushroom powder
Fancy nutterbutter.

Skin of sun choke, strained buttermilk, chive brassica dill
Fancy Ruffles potato chip with sour cream and onion dip

Lobster roll
Tuna fish sandwiches as a kid

Toasted Yeast Meringue
Fancy savory s’more
Horseradish parfait, dusted with mustard and halibut
Coconut marshmallow

Foie gras peanuts with pickled quail eggs
I don’t know what happened in there but I liked it; yes something bursts in your mouth and you will like it

Cracker
Not your typical water cracker

Razor clams trill dough

Lichen
Earthy underside spots… Surprise underneath!

COURSES

Yogurt – shad roe, rhubarb, licorice

Diver scallops – yuzu, gin botanicals, pickled green strawberries

Peeky-toe crab – toasted shrimp and angelica root gelée

Salted rye bread, scalded creme fresh salted with cheese rind

“Noodles” Noodles with seated caramelized shallots.
Grilled chicken bouillon, dissoluble spice packet, “Cup of Noodle” Squid
The noodles themselves are squid. Mind. Blown.

Pork roll
Sourdough pig fat.

Dried beet – trout roe, crustacean sauce – emulsification of crustacean and sea urchin

North coast halibut – young garlic, whey, chamomile
Line caught halibut, smoked then poached in whey, topped with chamomile and tender garlic


Seared soft shell crab, capers, amaranth, cinnamon and brown sugar dusting – brown butter consomme

Squab – pheasant-back-mushroom sauce, pear, tarragon
Dry breast of squab Dried pear skins dusted hops and elderflower, ramps, garlicscapes; pear vinegar and peasant back mushrooms

Mangalitsa pork – wheatberries, lamb’s quarters, New Zealand spinach
At this point, I realize I can’t fit anymore food in me


DESSERTS

Tea Service

Rock – meyer lemon, wild ginger
Rita’s Italian ice in an alien egg


Browned butter parsley root split – banana ice cream, marshmallow, milk skin

Strawberry Shortcake
Wild strawberries cow milk ice cream

“Churro” – salsify, white cardamom, cinnamon

Ice cream sandwiches


Black Walnut


Hazelnut Truffle

THE END!

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