30 June 2012

Fancy Supper Club: Atera

We are coming up to some expensive restaurants. This month was the newest restaurant of the bunch, Atera, and it was also recently awarded 4 stars from New York Magazine.  We were nervous about getting a reservation because of the excitement surrounding the restaurant but I found one.  It was on a Wednesday night at 9:30 pm but I found one.  And I was super excited that Whitney could join us. 

Be warned because all that follows is 25 photos of each dish that we were served.  Not to say that each dish isn't an art piece in itself.  The chef and owner apparently worked with an artisan in PA to design the dishes and they are gorgeous.  Mer wanted to steal most if not all of them.  One of the servers liked her enough that I wonder if she may have gotten away with it.

The kitchen is set up in the middle of the bar area.  We had the single table in the back where up to five people can be seated.  We had to have at least four people to make this reservation.  The restaurant wouldn't allow for a three person reservation.  Or maybe it just didn't fit in the time they gave me.

At the end of the meal, we were each given of a menu describing 12 of the dishes we had.  But there are 25 photos so the remaining photos are what the chef calls snacks.  They are eaten with your fingers and I'll try to remember what they were.

I said at the beginning of the meal that I wasn't going to take any photos.  I lied.  The dishes were so beautiful that I couldn't help but want to document it.

This was a very cold macaroon.  We were surprised how cold it was.  Mer actually had to leave the table to wash her hands and they brought her a new one because it had melted by the time she returned.

There are four snacks altogether but three had pine nuts and Mer can't eat those so she had her own on the black plate.  These were like granola crackers.  That sounds so mundane but it wasn't.  Each dish had so many amazing qualities and tastes to it. Unfortunately, that is how we described it to ourselves to remember.

They look like cannolis but they weren't. 

This was a lobster roll with a meringue-type bread.  I'm not a fan of lobster and it was overall too sweet but it was a very good interpretation of a lobster roll.

I cannot remember what this was.  I really should have taken notes but we were having far too much fun talking and laughing.  The hours went by so fast because I sincerely love these women.

This was interesting.  It was foie gras shaped like peanuts with what is called a pickled quail egg but Adam Platt writes is actually "whipped-egg a├»oli bound with xanthan gum and brined in vinegar."  It was delicious.

The dishes were not completely described to us.  Sometimes it's the idea of the dish like pickled quail egg but it really isn't.  I enjoyed not knowing but Mer did not like this at all.  She wanted to know exactly what she was eating.

We were told these were razor clams that you could eat entirely.  They looked gorgeous but it's a dry bread painted with squid ink with clams inside.  I enjoyed the idea of them.

That is not just a pile of rocks.  There is actually a dish in there that we were told was lichen.  I think it may have been but we ate it regardless.

Now we enter the non-snack portion of the meal - 

Green Almonds - lily buds, fresh almond milk.  It was a refreshing start.

Diver Scallops with pickled green tomatoes and sesame.

Peeky-Toe Crab with tapioca, tasted shrimp and wild ginger gelee.  I found it a little too sweet.  Mer and I have a friend who once told me that she would like to name a daughter Peeky-Toe.  I will think of this forever now whenever I eat this.

The bread and cheese-butter.  It was butter with cheese on the brine.  Delicious.

Ravioli with lardo, shad roe, peas and mustard seed.  It's a gorgeous dish but the flavor wasn't as heavy as I wanted for a ravioli.

Noodles with squid as the noodles.  I really enjoyed this dish which was described as a take on ramen. 

Morel with boudin and pine nut gravy.  This was my favorite savory dish. 

This is not on the printed menu so maybe it was a later addition but it was a beet underneath all that black.  I tried it but I just will never like beets.

 Again, not on the printed menu.  I believe it was a fish dish and it was delicious.

Veal Sweetbreads with savory toffee and pickled vegetables.  I believe it's my first time eating sweatbreads and the toffee dressing was delicious.  It's hard to stomach what I'm actually eating.  I'm still a bit of a food coward.

Wagyu with ribeye and pickled marrow.  Everything in this dish is delicious.

And desserts - White Rose with wildflower sherbert.  I loved all of the desserts and look at the artistry to designing the food.

Peach with sunflower toffee ice cream.  Doesn't the ice cream look like a peach pit?  Incredible.

At this point, we were the only people in the restaurant and they were cleaning up the kitchen but they kept bringing out the food.  Churro with chocolate that I couldn't get enough of.  

Bourbon Cask Ice Cream Sandwich with almond and vanilla.  It's a modern oreo.

Above and below are gorgeous chocolates.  We were sad to be done with the meal but we left the restaurant after 1 am completely stuffed and satisfied.  It's like we were spectators in a gorgeous food exhibit at a museum.  Atera is unlike anywhere I've eaten at.

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