Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New York's Best Secret Burger and Fries: Atera Lounge

In the basement of Atera is its lounge, a cozy little space with jet-black leather sofas and a handful of shiny wooden tables.

While restaurant guests can come down to the lounge to enjoy a pre-20 course drink, 

anyone can come visit the lounge (they take reservations !) to try a number of Atera's small plates (like the signature lobster roll or caviar macaron) or the soon-to-be-ultra-famous burger.

Naturally, we did all of the above.  Though there's a small menu of cocktails, the mixologist is more than happy to make you anything that tickles your liver's fancy with a variety of bitters and housemade juices at his disposal.  He will also, very patiently, explain any kind of alcohol question you may have - like history of the drink and the full creation process.  (We watched the mixologist's patience being tested by a particularly clueless gent during our visit.)

Cute cocktail with egg whites and citrus

The penicillin, with whiskey and ginger
We shared the beet jerky to start which comes as two dark knobs to an order, served alongside buttermilk cream.

The mixologist described how the beet jerky is cooked six ways to Sunday - it's baked, dehydrated, rehydrated, steamed, and whatever else possible, and whatever they do, it's delicious.  

The texture impeccably like beef jerky, but with the irresistible subtle earthiness of beets.  The added cream is absolute icing on the beet jerky cake.

And our excitement for that novelty vanished after the main attraction appeared before us.

The Atera burger is made with a house-ground blend of four meats: short rib, chuck, marrow and tendon, topped with perfectly melted white cheddar, and encased in the most beautiful possible sesame-studded brioche bun.

With the burger comes a set of accoutrement: pickled red peppers, pickled red onions, butter pickles and lettuce, alongside a neatly stacked set of the most incredible fries known to man.  You should know me.  I don't like to use hyperboles, but there really isn't a large enough hyperbole to capture just how amazing they really are.

The fries are blanched 6 or 7 times prior to frying, which creates the most velvety potato texture that instantly melts in your mouth, but yet somehow maintains a lovely little crunchy exterior.

AND THEN.  As if your life could not get even better, the fries are served with a duck pate mousse, (because ketchup would just be too declasse).

While the Atera burger is simply one of the best burgers I've had in New York, or even ever (it's so meaty, textural and wonderful!), the fries certainly outshine it, and for both of them to embody a single plate, well you simply have to wonder what have you done to deserve this, and you are probably not worthy, and that's probably true, but welcome to burger heaven anyway.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Go! How often can you get a two Michelin-starred burger?  Seriously the best burger and fries in New York.

77 Worth St
New York, NY
Atera on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Glorious Brick Chicken @ Maysville

Maysville pitches itself as a whiskey bar and restaurant, and indeed it delivers on alcohol (and food) in spades, as evident from the glowing display of bottles behind the wooden bar that greets you upon entry.

A full page of whiskey inspired cocktails and mixed drinks accompany a book with pages upon pages of all sorts of whiskeys to properly whet your whistle.  I ordered the Nor'easter, with bourbon, maple syrup, ginger beer and lime, and it was delicious - essentially a delightful little bourbon-fueled mojito.

Our bellies were raging with hunger, so we ordered two appetizers along with our entrees.  We were glad we did.  The portions are tiny, and plates are not really quite designed to share.

Fried oysters, came five to an order for $15.  The oysters were small, but flavorful, topped with a tasty, creamy chili mayo and chili.

The black spaghetti ($15) was essentially four healthy bites of briny noodle and thin slices of grilled squid.  Light and lovely but so, so little.

The duck entree featured duck cooked two ways - a seared duck breast, solidly seared and moist, and duck confit (with a beautifully crisp layer of fat), with rounds of ripe plum and cute wisps of haricot verts.  I'm sure in its own right, you would be happy with this dish, but unfortunately, we had tasted this plate after we had tasted...

Maysville's popular chicken dish, with breast and thigh, cooked under brick until the skin is crisp and crackly, and the meat just brilliantly succulent, nearly melting in the mouth.  Oh that moist, moist chicken.

Dipped into the creamy sweet potato puree, soaked in beautiful pan juices, every bite made me dance with such joy in my seat.  The boy and I remarked how we just never order chicken at restaurants, and maybe we have been missing out, because this chicken is just a marvel - and for chicken to be even better than duck, you can only imagine how much of a believer I really am of this plate.

With the check comes a lovely little plate of lemon shortbread and caramel truffles.  The truffle had to be the best piece of chocolate I've had in sometime.  We wished our waiter came by for us to ask for more.  I think he knew better than to come by again - our eyes instantly ravenous from the taste of creamy cocoa-dusted chocolate.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Maysville is exorbitantly expensive for some dishes, and the portions are small, but dammit, if that chicken isn't pure perfection, and I will come back anytime to lick that plate clean.

17 W 26th St
New York, NY
Maysville on Urbanspoon