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I will be in New York for a couple of nights at the end of the month and may get the opportunity to do one nice non-work dinner.  There seems a lot of support on the board for Aska.  BUT I've also heard a lot of good things re. the (similarish?) Atera, which would be MUCH more convenient for me (I'm staying in Nomad).  I haven't looked into reservations at either yet (which may well be a relevant factor).  What say you?

 

In general: probably more whiz-bang modernist stuff at Atera, probably more "what the hell did I just eat?" at Aska.

 

I'll be having the new menu at Aska next Friday, I gather it's changed since they switched to the new only-one-menu format, so I can weigh in on that then.

 

It's usually not too hard to get a rez anymore, even day-before, although since they're open shorter hours for February (only Wednesday-Saturday) it might be a little tougher than normal. Also, if you're dining solo, I think they only do solo seats on weekdays. (That said, if there's an open two-top on a Friday or Saturday they'd probably give it to you rather than have it sit empty)

 

If solo, Atera might be more comfortable since it's all bar dining. Depends how you feel about solo tables.

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Aska is, of course, the "real" restaurant that one of the guys from Frej opened up with the FOH/cocktail guy from EMP and then Atera. Like Frej, it's in the Kinfolk Studio space in Williamsburg. Unl

Going back 25 pages or so, I'll try to restate my original view on this again. The only time I've questioned the overall value of a tasting menu meal is when I've been disappointed with some aspect o

Though I shouldn't make assumptions, I'm just guessing your date wasn't picking up the tab. There can be an inverse correlation between excitement level and skin in the game. (Do correct me if I'm ass

Huh, yes you're absolutely right.  I tend to try to walk everywhere when I am in New York but I hadn't appreciated quite how close Aska is (once I see Brooklyn I just presume it's miles away).

 

Ok, so I should just try to go to Aska then?

 

We usually walk to Aska if the weather isn't terrible. I can't comment on Atera as I haven't been in a couple of chefs. 

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Ok, ok, jeez you guys are pushy...

 

Booked Aska for 27th Feb (with a NYC based friend), will report back.  I might try to squeeze in a late dinner at Frenchette too the night before to hit all of the MFers' current favourite spots.  A friend/client of mine is an investor in it, oddly enough.

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I have some thoughts I typed about the current menu at Aska, but I'm not sure I'm going to post them.

 

It's probably time I got a screen name. The whole being open with my opinions thing is kind of standing in the way of being open with my opinions.

I’m going tomorrow night so any heads up would be appreciated (although I guess there’s not much that can be changed in any event...)

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I’m going tomorrow night so any heads up would be appreciated (although I guess there’s not much that can be changed in any event...)

 

That's part of why I'm holding back. The menu may have changed a bit, even over a week - don't want to color your impressions. I saw someone post on the 'gram the night after we went and the last entree had already changed - our final entree was good, mind you. What I saw was served the next night was I assume also good, and for sure more interesting.

 

Nothing was bad in the inedible sense - every dish was executed perfectly I suppose, for what they were. It's just that what many of those dishes were was... well, kind of boring. There were a couple high points that hinted at the creative force Berselius can be. (The caviar and dessert courses were stand-outs, sort of)

 

Orik hit some of it with "too many mayos" - in fact the vast majority of the meal was curiously soft, texturally. 

 

An excerpt of what I'd written, about one of the not-soft dishes:

 

We started to wonder what we were in for with the second course.
 
To our table came, with quite a bit of pomp, two kohlrabi, set in beds of ice. Upon inspection we saw the tops had been sawn off, and I assumed the insides hollowed out. There was a lot of to-do and the waiter talked about the dish for a bit before we were allowed to unveil the surprise inside. The excitement built. And then... 
 
A pickle?
 
It was very pretty, for sure. A cylinder of pickled kohlrabi, four microgreens adorning its length, some speckling of something along the sides. Starkly surrounded by yet more ice it looked like nothing less than the Brian Boitano of kohlrabi, in the final moment of a routine as the last chord of music faded, in that tense pause before the applause starts.
 
I ate it in one bite. It crunched. It tasted like being stood up on a first date.

 

The plates were swiftly removed to make room for the next course. 

 

It was not some complex pickle with layers of flavors that washed over you and made you think about how they elevated the pickling arts. It was... a pickled vegetable. An element that belonged on the side of a larger dish, for contrast. Y'know, as you do with pickles. Those microgreens didn't add anything, but made it look pretty. Kudos to the staff being able to carry them to the table without any falling off. 
 
And I thought to myself, "$265, and one of our courses was a pickle."
 
Well... okay, then. It's only course two. Let's see where this goes...

 

 

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