An Early Look at Atrium, Which Opened in Dumbo Last Week


From the ravaged remains of Governor, a highly praised 2012 establishment brought to demise by Hurricane Sandy, springs forth Atrium, a seasonal restaurant focused on local sourcing that opened last week under the direction of three partners: Provence-native executive chef Laurent Kalkotour (who did time with Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud), beverage director Alexander LaPratt (formerly of Jean Georges), and general manager Leslie Affre.

Situated in the Clocktower Building along the burgeoning Dumbo waterfront adjacent to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the team preserved many of the architectural elements from the previous establishment, including nods to the building’s industrial past as a cardboard box manufacturing facility. The 70-seat dining room features a poured concrete floor, exposed ductwork, a dining mezzanine, an open kitchen, strands of glittering lights, and a vertical wall of greenery behind some of the banquettes.

While Atrium only offers reservations for parties of six or greater, we walked in with a party of three on a Friday evening and were seated promptly, left to peruse the first iteration of the menu for summer 2013, which emphasizes a diverse range of earnestly prepared seasonal offerings. Appetizers span a cultivated salad and an indulgent composition of sweetbreads with chorizo; main courses strut through quinoa tagliatelle with cauliflower and cumin, a pork chop served with spoonbread and bacon, and two fish entrees worthy of your attention: one an Atlantic cod gently cooked and served over a spinach puree, the other a red snapper prepared to a crisp finish and plated with baby carrot and kohlrabi.

The straightforward menu pairs to a much more inventive cocktail syllabus devised by PDT alumnus Payman Bahmani, which reads more like a pantry shopping list than it does a drinks board (see, for example, the toast and marmalade or the ras el hanout). Names aside, drinks are executed as well as you’d expect from someone who put in his time at a top bar in this city. Highlights included the Lavender and Bergamot–a sweet, balanced blend of rum, Luxardo, and Dolin Blanc–and the Raspberry and Balsamic, which pitted aged Genever against Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA. If you’re cash-strapped, you might even consider forgoing the food menu entirely and popping by for one of those $13 drinks at the bar.

Atrium is open for dinner nightly.

Hit the next page for a few photos.