In a bustling cosmopolitan city like New York, it is hard to create a restaurant that stands out from the crowd and amplifies the buzz of the city. Atera is one of the newer restaurants where this is happening. From the moment guests walk through the doors of the building, they enter a different world and are taken on a gastronomic journey. The restaurant is somewhat shrouded in mystery and throughout the meal guests fall from one surprise into another. This is experience dining at its purest and a mecca for lovers of inventive multi-snack menus.
Atera is located on Worth Street in the TriBeCa area of Lower Manhattan. Several interesting new restaurants have seen the daylight in this vibrant neighbourhood the last few years and Atera surely is one of the most creative ones. Finding the restaurant might not be that easy. It is established inside a building with a veterinary centre, dog training facilities, a pet wellness and other ‘interesting’ companies. There is no sign of the restaurant on the outside of the building, but look out for the blue entrance. Once inside, you will be led through a small hallway to the main restaurant, which features a large open kitchen that is surrounded by a bar with about twelve seats, and one table for four persons. The main kitchen, however, is hidden in the cellars of the building. These cellars are a small labyrinth of kitchens, refrigerators, storage rooms, and the dishes are prepared here during the day. The final touches and the plating are done in the open kitchen in the restaurant itself. For the initial creation of the dishes, the Chef has also set up an inspiring creative room.
The interior of the restaurant’s dining room is simple and somewhat reminiscent of the nineteenth century. Gray, brown and black are the main colours and wood is omnipresent, from floor to ceiling. The hanging garden and the interesting design lamps give the dining room a finishing earthy atmosphere. The music at Atera is an interesting mixture of up-tempo rock, eclectic music and other genres. The volume knob is properly tightened and this atmosphere sets the restaurant apart from most fine dining places where downtempo, lounge, classic or jazz music are the norm. Downstairs, guests can also enjoy an aperitif or digestive in the cosy, dark lounge bar (do not forget to sample one of the great cocktails).
The food is evocative, experimental, creative, inventive and very contemporary. The chef is not afraid to break the common ‘dining rules’ and serves his guests what he thinks is right, considering factors like the season, the moment in time, the current weather, the products available, etc. In his creative room he designs smart dishes such as the ‘Beets with bees wax’, the ‘Lobster roll with meringue yeast’, or the ‘Halibut with black walnut and green tea pil pil’. More traditional dishes like the ‘Roasted duck with pickles and duck jus’ might sound simple, but is simply delicious. The duck is roasted in-house and serves as a décor element as well as a dish during the meal. The dishes are often inspired by art, illustrations or personal experiences.
Atera definitely is one of the most interesting gastronomic restaurants in New York City and beyond. Like many trending restaurants in Northern and Southern Europe, this place offers an experimental and experience-driven kitchen. Guests are taken on an impressive culinary journey and receive an extended series of tapas-like snacks, based on the Chef’s experiences and inspiration. A culinary rollercoaster that will leave no one unaffected.
Written by Sven & Adriaan