Atelier has bucked trends since opening in 2008. At a time when so many other fine-dining restaurants were abandoning the tasting-menu business, Atelier was forging ahead with razor-sharp focus on just that. For the past dozen years, Chef Marc Lepine has remained committed to blind menus of 12 dishes. In fact, the only change at Atelier has been the addition of a second floor, doubling the chance to nab one of its 45 coveted seats. If conventional dining appeals to you, this is not that. Lepine’s menu is hypermodern, with dishes that take risks, command attention and deliver wonder and whimsy in equal measure. Flavour combinations may riff on the familiar—mousse of guinea fowl liver with black truffle, paired with a beef fat brioche—but then there’s the tomfoolery. One recent bit of fun: a pretty dish of cured wild boar belly paired with a green apple salsa… and a fuse. Lit at table, it sparks its way across the plate enflaming a pyramid that, burnt away, reveals a torched star anise-scented marshmallow. The room smells of grown-up s’mores. It’s a gas dining here.
Photo: MIV PHOTOGRAPHY