Entries in Noma (9)


Still Four Letters, Still the Best Deal in Town; Aska Opens Tonight in Former Frej Space

[]Fredrik Berselius and Richard Kuo opened Frej a month before Acme received two stars from the Times and five months before Atera was awarded three stars from the same publication. At the time, all three restaurants had chefs who were riding the wave of "new Nordic" cuisine that came from Scandinavia. The movement stemmed from a hyper-local approach to cooking that was taking shape in Copenhagen; specifically in Rene Redzepi's kitchen at his universally acclaimed restaurant Noma.

Just after six months of rave reviews and serving one of the city's best dining bargains (Frej offered a five-course tasting for $45), the restaurant closed it's doors for renovations. Tonight, in the space that once housed Frej in Williamburg's Kinfolk Studios, Berselius and former Atera General Manager Eamon Rockey are opening Aska.

Unlike Frej, which was only open Monday through Wednesday, Aska will be serving food from 6pm to 11pm seven days a week. Like Frej, Aska will be serving an underpriced (likely outstanding) tasting menu: six courses for $65. The tasting however, is only available Sunday through Thursday and by reservation only.

What was once an 18-seat availability at Frej has grown to thirty, as Aska has two rooms: one that seats 18 and one that seats 12. In addition to the sustainable, locavore approach found in Berselius' food, Rockey has curated beverage options from "Old World-centric wines, traditionally brewed beers, earthy ciders, classic spirits and house‐pressed juices to be enjoyed on their own or paired with food." [AskaNYC] [Eater]


The Foraging Pays Off; Three Stars for Atera

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria and Kyo Ya have a new member in their three-star club.  Michael Lightner's Tribeca hotspot Atera is the third restaurant to earn three stars from Pete Wells.  The restaurant opened this year in March and added fuel to an already blazing fire ignited by chefs who had passed through Rene Redzepi's kitchen at Noma in Copenhagen.  Lightner cooked there, at Mugaritz in Spain, and at Castagna in Portland, Oregan before landing in the Triangle Beneath Canal.

Dubbed "snack time" by Wells, the initial bites that start a meal at Atera are nothing to write home about.  "There was a bitter and stringy clump of fried garlic roots, about as rewarding as eating a broom. A facsimile peanut made with foie gras and peanut butter wasn’t as good as an actual peanut, and a facsimile egg shaped from aioli wasn’t as good as an actual egg."

A few small bites later, "when snack time was over and the core of the menu began, something remarkable happened."  That's not to say the ensuing meal was perfect.  Wells goes on to mention a few dissatisfactions, but ultimately feels a meal at Atera is one of the more unique the city has to offer.  "It doesn’t all come together yet, but it comes close enough that a night at Atera is now one of the most fascinating experiences you can have in a New York City restaurant."


Is Jewish Cuisine the New New Nordic?

For a while it was impossible to go out to eat without hearing something about New Nordic cuisine.  It was happening all at once in the East Village at Acme, in Tribeca at Atera, and across the river in Williamsburg at Kinfolk Studios pop-up Frej.  In Copenhagen, Rene Redzepi's end-all-be-all Nordic restaurant Noma continues to be a mecca for chefs looking to stage.

While all of this was happening, Jewish food was on the sidelines waiting for its chance to play.  A few days ago, the folks from Tribeca's Jewish bistro Kutsher's released this video, making Jewish food the sexiest we've ever seen it.  The success of Jewish deli Mile End reached Manhattan earlier this year with a location opened on Bond Street.  Jack's Wife Freda opened at the beginning of the year and serves Jewish food on Lafayette Street in Soho.

Jezebel is the newest member of the Jewish restaurant trend.  It opened earlier this month on West Broadway and aims to stand out with its adherence to the laws of kashut that make it a completely kosher restaurant.  A commitment to serving kosher food is one thing, but for former Gramercy Tavern employee Nick Mautone, that isn't enough.  Mautone heads the beverage program at Jezebel and plans a 20 drink menu that will only feature kosher cocktails.  To achieve this, he plans housemade vermouths and a reliance on other kosher-certified bar companions like Benedictine, Disaronno, and Angostura bitters.

An integral part of the city's dining landscape are the Jewish counters and delicatessens that have fed New Yorkers for decades.  The resurgence of Jewish restaurants in a city freckled with long-standing mainstays begs the question; Is Jewish food the new New Nordic?


Testing, Testing, 1, 2...

david chang in momofuku's test kitchen, courtesy of eaterEater published this amazing post of test kitchens from around the world yesterday.  These kitchens are void of seats and the pressures of cooking for guests.  They are haven's where chefs are able to experiment with new ideas and work together with their chefs de cuisine to formulate new menus.  In a sense, they're gastronomic laboratories.

Part of what makes the list so remarkable is the lineup.  Momofuku, The Fat Duck, elBulli, and Noma are all captured in great detail with pictures and insight into the philosophies that drive some of the greatest restaurants in the world.


First Bite: Governor

Welcome to First Bite, a new feature at DigestNY where we post about some of the city's most anticipated restaurants shortly after they open. We'll take some pics, eat some food, digest, and then report back to you. This go round it's Governor in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood. It's the third restaurant from the team behind Gran Electrica nearby on Front Street, and Colonie in Brooklyn Heights. Bradford McDonald is the chef. His time at Per Se and Noma shows in his clean flavors and slick plating.

Click to read more ...


Eat Like the Chefs this Weekend

If you're looking for a place to eat this weekend, or ever, consult this epic list of New York's Best Cheap Eats picked by some of the world's greatest chefs.

David Change eats Sichuan at Hot Kitchen in the East Village, Wolfgang Puck classes it up at Daniel and Marea when he's in town, and everybody's favorite chef, Rene Redzepi of Noma, apparently has a soft spot for Brooklyn.  Aside from thinking "Momofuku Noodle Bar is a must," Rene likes Franny's, Roberta's, and has "heard promising things about Isa."


Is San Pellegrino's World's Best Restaurants List Sparkling or Flat?

San Pelligrino's list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2012 came out earlier this week and Copenhagen's Noma keeps its number one spot.  Noma has made the list for seven out of the nine years that it's been a restaurant, and according to the World's Best website, Noma offer's "a dazzling array of one-bite starters that are alone worth the air fare to Denmark."

Per Se, #6, and Eleven Madison Park, #10, are the two NYC restaurants to make the top ten, EMP doing so for the first time.  Grant Achatz's Alinea in Chicago is the other U.S. resto to make the top ten and falls in the #7 spot.

Mexican Cuisine Mastermind Rick Bayless isn't thrilled about the list and digestny wonders if Brooklyn Fare and Marea feel left out.


The Copenzepi Takeover

New York Mag's Adam Platt awarded Atera four stars (out of five) last week.  That puts the restaurant at Exceptional, just one star away from the pinnacle, Ethereal category.

Atera chef Matt Lightner is an alum of Noma, Copenhagen's/The World's most fascinating restaurant since the closing of Spain's El Bulli.  Rene Redzepi is Noma's chef and he is a founding father of what is being referred to as New Nordic Cuisine.  Platt's review of Atera is another wave in the tsunami of attention being thrown in the general direction of Scandinavia.

Acme was awarded two stars by Pete Wells a few weeks ago.  The chef?  Noma vet Mads Reflund.  Frej is a pop-up at Kinfolk Studios in Williamsburg, serving a $45, five-course, Nordic influenced tasting menu three nights a week to anyone lucky enough to land a reservation.  The guys at Lucky Peach hung out with Rene in Issue #2, and in Issue #3, David Chang himself mentions the significance a stage at Noma means to an aspiring chef, and that commitment and discipline in the kitchen are just as relevant to technique and ingredients when it comes to Noma's success.

An article in The Wall Street Journal talks about "Life Beyond Noma," and discusses the culinary trend that has resulted as more and more chefs are passing through Noma's kitchen.