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Pete Wells Thinks Spendy Newcomer Günter Seeger Is ‘Both Brilliant and Off-Putting’

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One of the summer’s big fine dining openings gets an assessment from the Times critic

[The dining room at Günter Seeger]
[Facebook/Günter Seeger]

German-born chef Günter Seeger received mountains of praise for his cooking at restaurants in the Atlanta area over a decade ago. So far, the chef’s new eponymous West Village restaurant hasn’t garnered much buzz, but Pete Wells see flashes of Seeger’s brilliance across the $148 tasting menu. Here’s the Times critic on the great moments:

The cooking is deeply expressive — expressive of the season and of Mr. Seeger’s focused, disciplined style. He doesn’t try for bizarre juxtapositions. When you’re surprised by his cooking, it’s because the voice of the ingredients is coming through more clearly than you’re used to.

Chilled pea soup had a beguiling, toasted depth, and even the garnish was delicious, an open pea pod stretched across the rim of a shot glass. On another night, the soup was lemon cucumber, and it was refreshing in the way you want a gin and tonic to be, or an afternoon shower.

The room is full of hard, bright surfaces, and the service can be rigid. It sounds like Wells is almost willing to forgive some of these flaws because the food is just so darn good, but during his last meal, a number of dishes miss the mark. Wells writes: "For all his confidence, Mr. Seeger must be feeling a bit exposed right now. His future in New York City is riding on a restaurant that’s both brilliant and off-putting." Ultimately, the critic decides that Seeger’s newest is worthy of a two-star rating.

At Günter Seeger NY, a Star Chef Resurfaces, Confidence Intact [NYT]

Gunter Seeger

641 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014 (646) 657-0045 Visit Website