Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
"My inspiration comes from my roots—the south of France—the great mentors I have, and my family," explains Laurent Kalkotour, chef of the recently opened Brooklyn spot, Atrium in the old Governor space.
A New York restaurant industry veteran who's worked under the likes of Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud, Kalkatour took over the former Governor space with partners Alexander LaPratt, a Jean Georges alum who serves as beverage director, and general manager Leslie Affre. "My goal was to offer a menu with a variety of high quality ingredients and tastes. It offers choices, people like choices, but it's still small so as no to overwhelm the diner," he continues.
And indeed, many of these choices include references to the flavors and ingredients of Kalkotour's native cuisine. A starter of octopus, for example, that combines thin slices with a gnarly charred tentacle over a raw fennel salad; or a plate of veal sweetbreads—offal being a staple of southern French cooking—served with chorizo and charred young leeks. Comfort and simplicity also play a significant role on the menu, with Kalkotour pointing to the pork chop with corn spoonbread as a dish where "comfort was the central idea."
"My style of food is simple, rustic, and flavorful. I want my guests to feel at home, like they're having a family dinner."
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