If you’ve got a generous expense account and three or so hours to spend on dinner, run–don’t walk–to the new Atera restaurant in TriBeCa where chef Matthew Lightner is doing some of the most interesting cooking in Manhattan.
Call it “new foraging” (lichen crackers, anyone?) or Nordic Pac-Rim (Lightner trained at Denmark’s Noma and worked in Portlandia before moving to NYC), or even good old-fashioned “deconstruction-reconstruction” cuisine: The “razor” clam is actually a crisp sandwich you eat–“shell” and all. In any case, this is food that will make you think.
Amid all the molecular cuisine gear, I was pleased to find an old-fashioned charcoal grill where Lightner smokes Wagyu beef from Iowa over fresh juniper and thyme sprigs. Which just goes to show…even in avant-garde cuisine, there’s still a place for the primal grill.