Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Birthday Dinner at Atera

Walnut Sundae & Chocolate Mint

Hubby took me out for the most incredible meal for my birthday dinner... it was not only delicious, but it was a unique experience from start to finish. Atera opened a little over a year ago, and headed by chef Matthew Lightner, it has been a huge success. The concept is an interesting one -- you make a reservation a month in advance and pre-pay the whole meal. They have two seatings per evening, one at 6:30pm and the other at 9:30pm. Once the big night arrives, guests sit at a table encircling the kitchen, where you can watch the preparation and meticulous plating of every dish. This is a somewhat extravagant experience that is definitely for a special occasion. 
Clockwise: I can't remember what this first snack was!!, Beet "Leather" with luscious berries,
Sunchoke Kimchi in Vegetable Bullion, Savory "Cannoli"
There were over 30 courses (vegetarian for me!) and each was served by a personal waiter who provides details about each dish and the method/ingredients involved. The menu starts with 10 different "snacks" which were each beautiful and delicious... but I was really blown away when the real meal began. Each dish was more phenomenal than the last... and every plate was an artistic display. The food is served on things like bark, wood, moss, slate & stone. I could see the chef playing with our palate - especially during the snacks segment where we were made to feel all sorts of flavors, temperatures & textures. Overall, the meal was indulgent and satisfying. It was fascinating to actually watch Lightner using tweezers to perfectly plate each herb and flower that adorned his food.
Spring Onion with Black Walnut Powder & Dill
Clockwise: Vegetarian version of the fluke with Mulberries, Thin Wafers filled with something like wasabi,
Spring Peas in beer whey

My single favorite dish was the "egg" dessert.... it was even more delicious than beautiful! As a special surprise, the restaurant presented me with a printed copy of the menu (a modified version), that was signed by the chef himself!! It was such a great experience and I'm still in awe of it.
Clockwise: Japanese Sweet Potato, White Chocolate Birch Ice Cream & Wood Sorrrel, Cracked Egg Ice Cream
Walnut &  Hazelnut Truffles with Carmel Pretzels

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