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In a rare culinary outing we went to Atera on Wednesday night. One of the best meals of my life. Not counting meals memorable for reasons beyond the food (Skinny's 71 Clinton NYE party, etc...) this was probably top 3 along with Mugaritz and I can't even think of another to put in that class.
Very small room. Open kitchen with surrounding bar seating, and then just one other table (we had the table.) Just a single prie fixe menu. No choices, no substituions. The food is highly inventive, but not in a crazy sci-fi way (not that there's anything wrong with that style.) Great ingredients paired in unexpected ways with a lot of thought obviously going into both flavor and texture combinations. Each course was a real delight. Started with 10 rapid fire "snacks", followed by three small sort of appetizer like dishes, followed by three slighly more substantial but still small entree like things, followed by a bunch of desserts including the entirely edible "egg" shown below. It was a ton of food, but not enough to make us feel bloated afterwards. I love this style of small plates. Sort of like ordering everything on a more tradional menu and then sharing, except you don't have to share!