On a lucky day, you might wake up thinking of a certain dish and get it. I recently arose with a powerful desire for egg soufflé. In my daydream, it was light and airy, creamy and comforting. I must have remembered that Atti opened with one on its menu amid myriad other pleasures near Downtown Brooklyn a couple of months earlier.
Self-described as “fine Korean BBQ,” Atti’s elegant environs still have an easy manner. Make a reservation for busy, weekend nights, especially for larger parties, or pop in by the host stand around brunch time. Swing a quick right past the stylish, neon-lit refrigerators to the lofty dining room, which can accommodate 80 in cozy, high-backed, blonde wood booths, the largest of which will fit about 10 people who are pretty fond of each other. Flat, brass-encircled grills are slightly sunken into table centers.
The Atti han-sang ($64 per person with a minimum of two) includes three or four chef-selected meats and an abundance of banchan. Temperature-stable items are the earliest to arrive. Pumpkin is smoothly textured between pureed and mashed, a bit closer to the latter, and just sweet enough to convince squash skeptics to have another bite. The kimchi’s peak form and slightly spiced. And the little, glittering dried anchovies give a savory salt kick to everything they join.
Nice white rice follows, wonderful with a duo of bubbling stew: a mild doenjang and a bolder kimchi with a little more funk and fire behind it. Then, the egg soufflé of heart’s desire, which, with the addition of water, salt and expert execution to its main ingredient, rises to all that I’d imagined in a pillowy, pale sunshine dome with scallions on top. It’s a love soufflé.
Meats might include hanger steak, short rib, American Wagyu flat iron or ribeye all beautifully presented in marbled red and white. Carefully arranged into their quarters, they’re conversation-stoppers; petite, stock-model portions of beef. You almost don’t want them to go to the grill but servers control each round’s preparation to perfect doneness; an exacting process performed with ease. Restrained seasoning lets each cut’s unique qualities—suffused with satiny fat, or with ‘and potatoes’ familiarity, or buttery, rich, a little earthy, or some combination—shine. Their accompanying ssam is also stunning: leafy greens so fresh and crisp and flawless it’s like they were recently trimmed from a secret garden.
A lot more à la carte options are available for a lot more money. NY strip’s $54; filet mignon’s $58. Or you could confidently spring for a luxe set with the $185 American Wagyu ribeye, filet mignon, short rib set, knowing how carefully the staff handles precious meats. Oysters, shrimp cocktail, jeon and a few other stews are also among the un-grilled options.
The Vibe: Cooly elegant, easygoing and peaceful with potential for larger party fun.
The Food: The excellent Atti han-sang includes three or four beautiful, expertly-grilled meats and sensational banchan.
The Drinks: Cocktails, a nice variety of Korean spirits, sake, wine and beer.
Atti is located at 294 Livingston Street. It is open Monday-Friday from 5pm-11pm and Saturday-Sunday from 11am-11pm.