Magazine article The New Yorker

Atrium

Magazine article The New Yorker

Atrium

Article excerpt

15 Main St., Brooklyn (718-858-1095)

A meal at Atrium might start with an olive-oil cocktail and oysters, followed by quinoa two ways and a sweet-corn panna cotta. Modern Mediterranean, maybe a little trend-obsessed. But this new restaurant in Dumbo, opened by a team of DB Bistro alums, is also an act of defiance against nature. It's located around the corner from the carrousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which was engulfed by the East River during Hurricane Sandy, a moment captured in a now iconic photograph that showed the hooves of the glittering horses threatened by water and surrounded by darkness. The photo presaged the havoc Sandy would inflict on the Brooklyn waterfront and its businesses. In Dumbo alone, the River Cafe, the bobbing grande dame of the borough's dining scene, was shut for many months (and is now open only for private events), and Governor closed for good. It was promising and ambitious and lived where Atrium does now.

Although the space remains slightly awkward--the downstairs feels too big, the mezzanine like exile--the vertical garden, which covers an entire wall, lifts it from generic industrial and imparts a pleasantly indoors-outdoors feel. Atrium has aspirations beyond a neighborhood joint. Though friendly, there's a Manhattan-like formality to the service, down to the whispered deliberations between hosts about seating arrangements, and the wine list has over two hundred selections, though only one rose.

Certainly the menu doesn't offer the kind of casual fare the residents of this restaurant-starved area might want to eat on a Tuesday night: there's no burger, for instance, but there is a veal-chop special, served with pre-recession quantities of shaved truffle. …

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