My first time at Atera was shortly after it opened. It was excellent, but perhaps a touch derivative. My second time, last year, showed a more assured and refined voice, that I found to be exceptional, stating
That first meal was exciting because it was fresh for NYC and very, very good. This one, however, was even more exciting, because it showed that the voice of a top young chef has grown more clear, refined and personal as well as being even more delicious. Pair that with some of the finest service around, an intimate setting conducive to conviviality (each time we made friends with our neighbors at the u-shaped dining bar overlooking the open kitchen) and a great beverage program and one has a recipe for one of the very best restaurants in the country, let alone NYC.
Clearly, it was a restaurant that had spoken to me and one that I had enjoyed immensely. Sometimes those restaurants can be the most difficult to return to. Expectations can be so high, that they may be difficult to live up to. I need not have been concerned though, because my third time, and for the first time accompanied by my wife, somehow, actually exceeded my already high expectations, confirming and solidifying my view that Atera is one of the very finest restaurants in all the land, perched with but a hand full of others and not meaningfully exceeded by any. Continue reading