Showing posts from June, 2014

Atera - New York

I don't believe in "fate," but I'm a big fan of serendipity.

Last week, Frod Jr. had to get to Cornell University on Saturday morning, where he's taking courses this summer. It turns out this is not a simple task, as there are almost no flights into Ithaca. Things actually got a bit easier when I needed to be in New York City for work earlier in the week. Frod Jr. came up with me, and had a couple days free in the city before we rented a car and drove to Ithaca. That worked out perfectly.

Then Thursday night while we're up there, I get a text from Miami chef Jeremiah Bullfrog, who had just been at Bonnaroo breaking in his new gastroPod, a diner built in a shipping container: "You in NY??" he asks. Sure enough, he is too, and we've both got Friday night free for dinner. I scour OpenTable to see what's available, and – can this be for real? – there's a 9:30 reservation for three open at Atera. A place I've been wanting to go to since …

J&G Grill - Bal Harbour

I usually don't write about restaurants based on off-the-menu experiences, particularly those of the "cook for me" variety.[1] But exceptionalism is cause for making exceptions. Chef de Cuisine Bradley Kilgore and Executive Pastry Chef Antonio Bachour are doing exceptional things right now at J&G Grill in Bal Harbour, and it seems foolish not to speak of them.

I've been talking Brad up for years, going back to our Cobaya dinner at Azul in 2011 where he was a sous chef at the time. After a brief stint heading the short-lived Exit 1 on Key Biscayne, Brad landed as chef de cuisine at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill in the St. Regis, where he's finally had the resources to match his talent and ambition. He also has had the benefit of teaming up with Antonio Bachour, whose pastry work is, and I don't exaggerate, brilliant.

To celebrate a recent birthday, the family let me choose where to go,[2] and I quickly opted for J&G. The truth is, while…