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#91 rozrapp

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:46 PM

4 stars from Platt.

#92 Daniel

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:57 PM

Not to mention review of the day on yelp!
Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#93 Suzanne F

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:44 PM

A review, with photos, from Tribeca Citizen

I don't want to seem obsessed with this, but . . . -- Sneakeater, August 13, 2014

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#94 Chambolle

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 04:30 AM

This place had me confused for a while there.

I was trying to figure out what the hell this place was all about.

I even waved the chef over and asked him to explain his concept to me. He wasn't really able to. At least not to my satisfaction.

Then finally, as they were reeling off the umpteen components of the ensuing creation, I totally figured it out:

Atera - Ingredient Fetish Extragavanza !

Atera - Theatre not Dining !

Atera - Les pupilles pas les papilles ! (Visuals dominate over pure taste)

Atera - Come to us more for Unusualness than Deliciousness !


Anyone can do delicious. But can you do unusual ?

Can you entice and intrigue the eyes enough such that your tongue is relegated to second fiddle ?

It's a worthy question ...

All that said, investing $150 at Atera is a wiser sunk cost than $115 flung at Jung Sik.

Assuming that you can get in, of course.

#95 Orik

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 03:40 PM

Thank you Chambo, I've been wondering about both places.
I never said that

#96 Orik

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:54 PM

By the way, I saw somewhere that Atera wants to be the lowest markup provider of good wines in nyc restaurants.

Why then, are the bottles I know, even the more expensive ones, marked to 300% of current retail?
I never said that

#97 Chambolle

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:49 PM

Re wine, I didn't even bother to look at the wine list while at the resto. I probably did peek at it online way back when when I made the ressie but didn't look too closely or for very long because it seemed pretty clear to me that ordering bottles at a place like this is pretty futile considering that you have no idea what the heck you will be eating and the stuff that you will be eating is going to be pretty weird. That said, the gal I was with didn't want to drink too much so she just had a few glasses (riesling, a red, a sweet wine). The wine pairings at $90 or $95 or so seemed pretty reasonable. Then again, they are pretty darn chintzy pourers and don't adjust pouring levels as things progress based upon watching the diner's consumption rate (as I feel they should especially since they are chintzy pourers to start with) and they are in no hurry whatsoever to refuel even when a pour will be used for a few snacks. It's annoying especially when I know that the bottles are not expensive (ie the Vina Ardanza 2001. I did say the my wine pourer "Oh, you read Asimov too, eh?). Other pours included a couple of German rieslings (a 1990 and a 1997), a British beer, a sake, a sorrel juice with wildflower honey (to pair with diver scallops cured in citrus and gin botanicals, obviously), a Tokaj furmint, a 1985 sweet Chenin Blanc, etc.


All that said, investing $150 at Atera is a wiser sunk cost than $115 flung at Jung Sik.

Let me elaborate on this one-liner so it is not misconstrued.

I think it is a perfectly reasonable, if not a very good, idea for various folks among us here to go to Jung Sik. I think it's priced fairly. It can be an enjoyable fine dining meal where diners can order off a menu and eat very pretty food with very civilized service (just avoid the young caucasian server guy I had). Also note that this place doesn't feel like Tribeca at all.

As a counterpoint, from a design and feel perspective, Atera is a total frickin bullseye on a spin at a cool Tribeca resto. Given their concept, they just so totally nailed Tribeca.

But Atera is not really about any conventional fine dining experience. Atera is about a way-out-there chef saying "Look Mom ! No hands !!" as he careens aimlessly on his moutain bike and leads you through a meadow, a forest, passes by a brook, hugs a coastline and all the while he is gathering various odds and ends along the way - picking up herbs, flowers, leaves, digging up some roots, gathering some sticks and stones and trapping a bit of shellfish too. And then he manipulates and combines them in strange ways and serves them to you as if you are still out on the nature path. I'm sure many are scratching their heads reading this, but go there and come back and read this paragraph and you'll see that it's on point.

Hence, for a mere $35 more than Jung Sik, you too can go on this loopy food ride. But it's a wild ride of imagination and naturalistic creation as opposed to aiming for mere, mundane deliciousness. That doesn't mean the food is bad - no, not at all (well, that seeded, malt cracker wasn't really all that great ...). It means the food is often more interesting and unusual than delicious. Could aiming single-mindedly for conventional deliciousness be a narrow-minded goal. I believe that this chef believes just that (whether he realizes it or not).

The service was very good and the service is done in a cool, earnest yet ironic way that understands the folly and humor present in the overall progression. For me, I really enjoyed when the person next to me would receive their plates and the corresponding description. He was four-ish dishes behind us. When you watch the presentation / description, having already experienced it, it's actually kind of funny. I would start laughing to myself when listening and observing.

For me, this place is more like a piece of theatre than a restaurant. For me, restaurants are places that I want to enjoy, get to know the people, go back to time and again and create a relationship with. Atera is not that, at least not for me. Atera, like a good piece of theatre, is something that you should see and experience at least once. And once may be plenty for many.

I've forgotten about my Jung Sik meal. I'm still giggling about Atera.

Server: "How did you like your rock ?" (upon taking away my first dessert)
Chambo: "I enjoyed it. I mean, as far as rocks go, that was a pretty darn good one."

#98 Chambolle

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:02 PM

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#99 Sneakeater

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:10 PM

I think your penultimate post was really good. I think you're pointing to the way a whole new kind of restaurant is proliferating. While I kind of like them, I'm basically ambivalent. I get the feeling you are, too.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#100 Wilfrid

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:13 PM

Not completely atonal, but of indeterminate key. Oh, sorry, wrong thread. Perhaps.

#101 Orik

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:18 PM

I think your penultimate post was really good. I think you're pointing to the way a whole new kind of restaurant is proliferating. While I kind of like them, I'm basically ambivalent. I get the feeling you are, too.


They have the advantage of being very good, mostly, and the disadvantage that there's really no reason to ever go back.
I never said that

#102 Chambolle

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:25 PM

To help put that Rock in context, it might be useful to know that one of the earlier dishes was the Dried Beet.

That's a dried beet with trout roe and an uni-crustacean sauce. As far as sauced, dried beets go, this was pretty darn good.

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#103 oakapple

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

I could imagine paying multiple visits to Jungsik. Atera sounds more interesting, but not like anything I'd want to do twice.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#104 Chambolle

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:39 PM

I would further add that one might want to be aware that a dessert that followed our friendly pet Rock was "Charcoal".

It comes out in one nice, large chunk - not too visually far away from a rock. (Notice the ashes on my charcoal :lol: )

The server, as earnest as ever, says solemnly "You're next dessert is Charcoal".

How can you not giggle just a tad?

He then proceeds to break up the charcoal.

In fact, it's some weird aerated chocolate that's served on top of some (I'm sure weird) ice cream. My charcoal didn't really taste good (not much chocolate favor going on there) although I believe the ice cream was good, even if I can't recall the flavor. But did I like my charcoal dessert ? Sure - it was the best charcoal I've ever eaten.

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#105 Chambolle

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:42 PM

Come to think of it, none of this is probably making any sense because you didn't know the following:

Preceding all these dishes, was this one:

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