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Jun 25, 2013 11:21 AM

Atera v Corton v NoMad

Trying to decide between these three for our upcoming dinner plans in September.
Atera sounds exciting because we love Chef Tables and the creative style of cooking. But worry it wouldn't measure up to somewhere like Noma or Mugaritz. Also since it is newer there is less talk about it than other places.
Corton is somewhere we have been meaning to go for a long time but always skip because it has more mixed reviews than other places.
NoMad is where our hotel is and seems to be getting raves. And we love Daniel Humms cooking.
But we are also looking to go to EMP while we are in town and wonder if that makes NoMad moot.

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  1. Corton.

    Atera doesn't measure up to Noma or Mugaritz: not in the same league.

    The NoMad is a very nice and enjoyable restaurant -- perfect for a date, or a social night out when you don't want to focus much on the food -- but it isn't very "interesting" culinarily, if that's what you're looking for.

    Corton may be the single most underrated great restaurant in New York.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Sneakeater

      Hmm. Well we are very food focused and it tends to drive a lot of our conversation. So maybe NoMad just becomes a backup in case EMP falls through.
      I guess I need to motivate myself more to visit Corton.
      Atera still seems interesting but since we were lucky enough to visit Mugaritz 2 years ago maybe it would be overshadowed.

      1. re: Heeney

        Regarding NoMad their lunch menu is extremely similar to the dinner menu - so if you have a free lunch (and they still have space available) you could add in NoMad and pretty much have the typical experience of dining there.

      2. re: Sneakeater

        I agree on that. Corton over Atera.

        1. re: Sneakeater

          2nd Corton over Atera and The NoMad


          ... if you're not motivated to visit Corton, for whatever reason, then why force yourself? Go to Atera and report back with your own comparisons with Noma and Mugaritz. You would be doing us a favor.

          1. re: Sneakeater

            Ok. So now I am leaning Corton over Atera just slightly. Mostly driven by reading Ryan Suttons review. I dislike that the pairings are the same price as the menu though. Always have a hard time justifying myself to spend the same on wine as I do the food. Personal quirk I guess.
            Though now we are throwing two new options into the mix: the 20 course tasting at Torrisi or going back to Marea. Last time we were there I was not feeling well and it kind of ruined the meal.

            1. re: Heeney

              You should also consider the 20 course extended tasting menu at Per Se. I've done it twice and it's ranked as my #1 meal for each year that I've done it.

              1. re: ellenost

                I don't doubt that. :)
                We've done the regular 9 course at Per Se twice over the past few years and loved it each time. Looking to do somewhere else and keep it under $450 per person for food. Haha.
                What is it now btw?

                1. re: Heeney

                  In February the extended tasting was $600 per person and lasted over 4 1/2 hours, it probably would have lasted longer, but I waived the white flag of surrender since I had hit the "wall", and asked to have the remaining food boxed up (which they did beautifully!) Last year I dined with a group of people; the lunch lasted over 5 1/2 hours and cost $500 per person. Both meals were incredible!

          2. I love all three restaurants. I had dinner (my third visit) at Atera two weeks ago, and it was brilliant! Atera has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. I've had 3 dinners at Corton too, and have loved all 3 of them. Both Atera and Corton are doing creative and delicious food with excellent service. Big differences: Atera is counter seating while Corton is table seating; prefer the wine list at Atera to Corton.

            My only concern with Atera is that it has gone the way of Alinea and Next when you make your reservation you cannot cancel it; it is a "ticket" that is not refundable. Corton has a less restrictive cancellation policy.

            I love The NoMad too, but it is not at the same level of creativity or price as the other two restaurants. The food is delicious and service is excellent (as you know it is part of the EMP family), but it has a more casual vibe than either Corton or Atera. BTW, dining at EMP will not make dining at The NoMad "moot" since they are very different restaurants.

            6 Replies
            1. re: ellenost

              I had read though that many of the dishes at NoMad were Humms "reworking" of EMP dishes for a more casual and accessible atmosphere.
              Like the chicken instead of the duck, and a tweaked version of the suckling pig.

              1. re: ellenost

                I agree that Atera serves a hell of a meal. Excerpting my own recent review... ' "What did you say this was again?" I said, having waved over one of the two amiable young men serving me (and the rest of Atera's counter clientele).

                ' "Toasted grain dashi," he repeated, then launched into an explanation involving kombu seaweed and CryoVacs. I loved his enthusiasm, but I wasn't listening too intently: too busy downing successive spoonfuls of the clarion broth with its pleasantly burnt notes. I was enjoying it so thoroughly that it took me a while to remember that a dumpling was still floating in it. Peekytoe crab raviolo, the server had said. Almost as an afterthought, I ate it in one bite.

                'WHOOMP. The outer wrapping, which turned out to be an ethereally thin layer of yuba, held for a moment then dematerialized, releasing its payload of pure crab essence. Such unadulterated deliciousness! So moist! How could it manage to be even juice-laden than the soup I'd just been slurping?!

                'I waved my server over again.'

                If your comparison is the likes of Noma, it might be interesting to sample the different sort of food that Corton serves, since it also serves a hell of a meal. Honestly, though, for me its flavors/textures more often hit a straight-up "What the hell is going on?!" note than a "What the... this is delicious!!" one. It's more cerebral food. Still, both are top-tier restaurants here for sure.

                The NoMad is extremely tasty, but an entirely different kind of experience.

                1. re: ellenost

                  So with Corton in transition the choice is now easy and I'm going with Atera. I'm noticing on CityEats that they have availability at both seatinga for every night they are open (including tonight).
                  This is in contrast to last year when I called and they were booked solid over a month out.
                  Are things slowing down at Atera recently?

                  1. re: Heeney

                    I love Atera, but Atera recently increased their price from $165 to $195 in addition to their pre-payment requirement including tax and tip equalling about $250 per person. That's a lot of money to lose if you need to change your plans for an emergency. I'm booking Atera (when available) a day in advance/same day since I have a family medical situation where I may have emergencies. Even Per Se, EMP and Ko have less painful cancellation policies.

                    1. re: ellenost

                      I'm planning to book for a special occasion. Looking at the policies, it looks like the $250 per person includes the meal, the tax, and the gratuity. It states that drinks and additional gratuity will be billed the night of. I hate to be a rube, but I'm assuming that one bases the additional gratuity on the amount that one drinks. Is that correct? (Notwithstanding additional gratuity for exceedingly good service....)

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Don't know your plans, but you might want to try the NoMad for brunch. EMP doesn't do brunch so it might be an interesting experiment (seeing Humms take on breakfast).

                    1. To all who recommended Corton, I think this might have an impact on the recommendation?!!