Atera, NYC 3
August 19, 2014
We started with a bottle of Marie-Courtin Champagne. This served nicely for the apéritif and through the caviar dish.
Our meal started with.
King Crab Rose Geranium
lemongrass, wild ginger pelargonium graveolens
This excellent starter was quite complicated for such a small, simple looking dish. Norwegian king crab was dressed with rhubarb juice, dianthus, coconut oil and crème that is infused with lemongrass, wild ginger and rose geranium.
artichoke petals, mushroom phlox paniculota
On the bottom is a piece of red sea bream very gently seared with coal. It is topped with artichoke leaves lightly pickled with rose vinegar. The sauce is a mushroom “dashi” with sunflower oil.
smoked roe, tartar sauce
This third trout course was superb. The smoking of the trout roe, served in a chicken gelée, really worked well. The ‘tartar sauce’ is made with pickled ramps. The amaranth crackers gave just the right amount of crunch.
A small bowl was presented with pieces of carrot roasted over coffee beans to the soft texture of the sea urchin alongside and grated down to the appropriate size. A broth made from sea urchin and dried carrots was then poured on. The elements were complementary in sharing a slight sweetness, as well as their color. Excellent.
chicken, shrimp citrus x limon
The chicken velouté made this dish reminiscent of grandma’s dumplings, but the Australian truffle slice and truffle gelée underneath added an upscale touch. There were also peas in the bottom of the cup.
This is the only dish to have remained on the menu since Atera’s beginning. It is claw and knuckle meat from Maine lobsters, with a little mayonnaise inside a yeast meringue sandwich.
Now we started on a bottle of 2004 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva made from Tempranillo and Mazuelo grapes in the Rioja. This was more robust than the pinot noir and agreed with the somewhat more substantial later dishes.
lardo, air baguette
An air baguette (like a big oyster cracker) was filled with the same potato puree used in the preceding plate. It was topped with slices of geoduck clams and cured lardo.
black walnut, whey matricaria recutita
The square of Maine halibut was poached in buttermilk whey. Served with it were pickled black walnuts, walnut butter, and walnut miso. The white sauce was an emulsion of reduced fish stock and chamomile oil. Alongside were pieces of crisp halibut skin dusted with seaweed powder.
smoked yolk, corn
These deep-fried balls of cornmeal batter filled with smoked egg yolk and pickled corn were quite hot, with liquid insides, so it was a challenge to decide just when and how to bite into them or the eat whole. There was dried chicken powder on top.
Roasted Duck Sucrine
green tea cucurbita moschata
A round piece was made from the de-boned thigh meat of very flavorful Peking duck The other piece is from its breast. They were served on top of a concentrated green tea and duck stock sauce. Braised sucrine lettuce and leeks cut the richness. Excellent.
Those were not real almonds, but almond milk and coconut milk made into a pastry cream and frozen in a almond mold then coated in a mix of cocoa butter and almond oil. The flower is bee balm. The strawberries were strawberries.
Three plates of mignardises followed. Those are green pea financiers on top. The chocolate bonbons are decorated with symbols for the flavors inside: strawberry and milk chocolate, wood sorrel white chocolate ganache, chamomile pastry cream (even though the picture is of trout lily), and cherry blossom almond caramel.
The meal was superb, as before. There was more evident complexity than in our last meal at Atera, which is not necessarily an improvement for me, but it worked. The playfulness of many of the dishes and the cheerful, relaxed interaction with the staff helps to enhance the enjoyment. Chef Lightner was on vacation, but the meal flowed forth expertly under the direction of Chef de Cuisine, Jaime Young. Captain Matthew Abbick’s presentation of each dish and our conversations with him are part of the drama and magic of Atera. He also was most kind to supply me with many of the details in the descriptions above. Conversations with Sommelier Scott Cameron about the champagne and wines we chose, as well as some other wines, were very useful and interesting. Bravo, once again.
To see all of our meals at Atera click here.