Contra is a very good tasting menu restaurant, Pete Wells notes, but its spinoff, Wildair, is more fun and just as crunchy. Here's the Times critic comparing the two restaurants from chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske:
Format matters. Contra’s is a concise tasting menu, and tasting menus are the parchment scrolls on which chefs inscribe their Magna Cartas with goose-quill flourishes. Wildair borrows its format from contemporary European wine bars such as Manfreds & Vinin Copenhagen and Le Dauphin in Paris, places that extend a hand inviting us to try something new, drink a strange gamay bottled by an ornery old hermit, eat a little of this and a little more of that while we catch up, unwind and make plans. You visit Contra. Wildair is a restaurant you can live in.
He's a fan of the beef tartare, the squid, the shrimp, and the pork rillettes. But Wells is not in love with the stools, or the $70 price tag of the dry aged steak. His review include special praise for wine director Jorge Riera, who helped him find "a biodynamic fino sherry from Andalusia and an elegantly honeysuckle-scented grenache blanc from Catalonia." Wells gives Wildair two stars, plus the "Critic's Pick" checkmark.