Atera: 77 Worth St, NY, 212 – 226 – 1444
There are many wonderful restaurants in Manhattan, (and believe me, we’ve been to many of them), but non are as innovative, delicious and comforting as Atera. This restaurant employs molecular gastronomy, beautiful presentation, and uncommon ingredients such as seabuckthorn, juniper or even guneafowl in the best and most delicious way possible, and I would definently recommend it to anyone travelling to Manhattan.
The first course we were offered was nori, salmon, and radish. A crunchy tartlet made of nori (seaweed) was topped with watermelon radish, horseradish and smoked salmon. It was an enjoyable bite in terms of texture, (creaminess and crunchiness were well balanced), and I think the salmon worked well with the other ingredients, but the watermelon radish felt a tad bit overpowering for my taste.
Next came a simple oyster with yuzu and shallot. What’s good about oysters is that they’re simply creamy, refreshing, and satisfying morsels. This is definitely one of those oysters. The citrus and sourness of the yuzu played well with the creamy oyster and diced shallots. Overall, a well balanced oyster starter in which the fishiness of the oyster was not as overpowering as usual oyster dishes, because of the presence of yuzu, shallots, and olive oil.
Moving on, the waiter brought us a traditional Danish pastry which was very well baked (both crunchy and puffy). The puff pastry was baked with bacon, giving the pastry a wonderful savory component. Then, a peppercorn gel that resembled an aged balsamic was paired with the pastry. It helped create more textures, color, and it counteracted the dryness of the pastry and bacon.
This was, by far, the most innovative and delicious dish that was served tonight. The ossetra caviar was deliciously creamy and nutty, and it was served with a refreshing pistachio ice cream. The creaminess of the caviar worked immensley well with the creamy and nutty pistachio ice cream, and the creme fraiche on the side just brought everything together, counterring the nuttiness.
Next, we were given a dish of delicate Scottish langoustine that paired delitefully well with the sourness and tartness of the green apple that the langoustine was topped with. The shaved foie gras, however, failed to add much to the dish as a whole, apart from adding a creamy texture.
Above is an innovative take on classic ramen. The broth is savory and delicious, just like any ramen broth. The noodles, however, are made from squid, the same squid the boullion was cooked with. This gives them a nice soft texture, but firmness at the same time. The yolk brought the whole dish together by adding creaminess, and I enjoyed the texture and taste of the carrots and herbs, not to mention their aesthetic value.
Since the appetizers are finished (for now), the waiter brought us this dish. A perfectly cooked delicious fillet of halibut. It was paired with an earthy and savory brown butter sauce, commonly used to sauce fish, especially halibut. Finally, delicious buds of cauliflower added a necessary crunch that brought this entire dish together…Definitely one of my favorites.
Then, we were served another delicious dish. Half of a celery root with parmesan and parsnip purée. The texture and savoryness of the cheese worked wonderfully with the earthiness of the celeriac. The creaminess of the purée added much to the overall dish in terms of texture. Overall, the dish is extremely well balanced in every way, something the chefs at Atera are very talented at doing.
We were then served a very tender slice of guineafowl, made to look like foie gras terrine, I assume. The demi glacé on the bottom was savory and worked to enhance the taste of the guineafowl, and the creamy parsnip purée, while repetitive in accordance with the previous dish, did add a welcoming texture to the dish.
The next dish had very similar elements to the previous dishes. And, while delicious, I found this dish (and the previous dishes really) to be rather repetitive. Anyways, the dish above is a very well cooked and tender bison, under a tasty jus (similar to the sauce used in the previous dish). The squash and zucchini contributed little to the overall flavor of the bison, but added a good crunchiness.
Next, we entered the dessert portion of our meal. First, we were served sea buckthorn and mandarin ice cream. The citrus mandarin worked well with the very tart sea buckthorn, each flavor limiting and at the same time, working with the other.
This dish was a crunchy shell of hearts of palm, with a honey and bourbon yogurt cream, as well some meringue. I particularly enjoyed the textures in this dessert, creaminess, crunchiness, chewiness, etc. There were many different components to this dish that worked together, and I liked the innovative use of heart of palm as a crunchy “shell”.
Next came three dishes, black garlic madeleines, miso caramel dark chocolate, and popped sorghum with peanut. I enjoyed the miso chocolate the most, although it was rather sticky due to the caramel. The madeleines were rather disappointing. The black garlic was lacking, and I found myself craving chocolate in the end. The popped sorghum with peanut worked well, and resembled popped corn, which was very clever.
Overall, if Atera is good at one thing, then it’s quite good at innovation and experimentation. It isn’t afraid to use uncommon ingredients and it does a great job at mastering them, even if some ingredients may get repetitive. I would definitely come back to Atera again, as they keep changing their ingredients and menus.