Atera, NYC

I never made it to Compose. And Compose never made it onto my to-eat list. Though when I learned of the space reopening as a new seasonal-forage-inspired/half-molecular/chef’s counter concept, Atera quickly made it onto my list. Before long, after learning more of Chef Matthew Lightner, and reading some of the early words regarding his new work, the small Tribeca restaurant was number one on said list.

The Bro was planning a combo birthday-slash-James Beard Awards trip, and left the eating decisions up to me. I told him Atera was my number one at the moment, and he didn’t argue. Get ready for an amazing run-on: After a night of heavy drinking at the JBF ceremony, after party, after after party, etc, followed by an earlier than desired wake-up for lunch at EMP(which was the best meal I’ve had there since my first(and also an amazing clean-up from the previous night’s festivities)), then an afternoon of notaries, wire transfers, and lease signing, The Bro, Rocky, and I couldn’t wait to sit at our barstools at the thirteen seat counter(right next to my new friend Doc Sconz and his friend, whose meal can be seen here(on a much fancier and more eloquent blog than mine)).

Now this meal was 3+ months ago, and I’m posting this simultaneously with my meal from last week, so I’m going to be fairly vague and brief for this one.

A bottle of 2000 Gaston Chiquet to begin. It was everything it should be, and a great match for the upcoming ‘snacks’.

Snacks: Sunchoke Skin, Buttermilk, Flowers, Herbs.

Snacks: Mustard, Flax, and Sunflower Seed Granola coated in Black Sesame Butter.

Snacks: Lobster Roll. Claw meat and Mayo on a dry yeast meringue.

Snacks: Malt Cracker.

Snacks: Foie Gras Peanuts.

Snacks: ‘Pickled Quail Eggs’

Snacks: ‘Whole Razor Clams’. Razor clam mousseline, poached razor clams, seaweed, baguette painted with squid ink.

Snacks: Seaweed Cracker. Seaweed pounded and dried with hay ash. Herb Aioli.

Snacks: Spring Garlic Roots, Garlic Aioli, Dill.


1st Course: Yogurt. Shad Roe, Rhubarb, Licorice.


2nd Course: Diver Scallops. Citrus, Gin Botanicals, Buttermilk.


3rd Course: Fluke. Barbequed Onion, Coriander, Fennel Seed.


4th Course: Squid. Cured Lardo, Squid Broth. This was presented in the guessing game/blind tasting fashion I encountered at Mugaritz.


5th Course: Dried Beet. Trout Roe, Crustacean Sauce. My favorite dish of the evening. I believe The Bro’s as well. And I think it was Rocky’s favorite, aside from dessert.


6th Course: Softshell Crab. Brown Butter Consommé.


7th Course: North Coast Halibut. Young Garlic, Whey.


8th Course: Squab. Caramelized Ramps, Pear, Tarragon.


9th Course: Lamb. Sprouted Wheatberries, Leek.

At this point we were told we had a choice to sub out one of our dessert courses for a cheese course. I thought it was a silly offer. Substitution, no. Supplement, yes.

10th Course: Cheese. Ascutney Mountain-Cobb Hill Farm, VT. Moses Sleeper-Jasper Hill Farms, VT. Mountaineer-Meadow Creek Dairy, VA. Mossend Blue-Bonnieview Farm, VT.


11th Course: Rock. Meyer Lemon, Wild Ginger.


12th Course: Parsley Root Split. Banana Ice Cream, Chiffon, Milk Skin.


13th Course: Charcoal. Chocolate Meringue, Goat’s Milk Ice Cream. Rocky still talks about this dish every time someone mentions Atera.


14th Course: Oak. Bourbon, Malt.


Petit Fours: Hazelnut Truffles.

Petit Fours: Black Walnuts.

A few more wines we were served:

Certainly a great first impression from an outstanding first meal at the hands of Chef Lightner and his team.

To see what I had for my second visit, with a little more detail, click here.

Date of visit: May 8, 2012

***Update: A small disclosure: Since having these two meals and posting about them, I’ve joined the Atera team.***

Atera. 77 Worth Street. NYC. 212.226.1444


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