Ôter is challenging. L’oeuf de poule, for instance, is a jar full of coddled egg with tender chicken heart and liver floating in a cloud of mushroom foam and black truffle, a basket of hot oat wafers served on the side. But the thing about challenges is that they’re often rewarding. That’s true of Ôter – in spades.
Though nominally a French restaurant, Ôter rejects traditional expectations of French cuisine. It does an alloy of homey and haute cuisine. Each meal begins with a plate of warm bread, fragrant house-made butter, salt flakes and radishes. Next you might have a dollop of urchin roe served on a crunchy puff of beef tendon, given a subtle bass note by a cashew cream. Incredibly large Clarence River prawns are shipped fresh, not snap-frozen, and cooked over coals.
Tete du Veau – whole veal head – is highly prized in regional France, but has been mostly unavailable here. The cheeks, sweetbread, brains and tongue are pressed into a terrine. It’s sliced to serve, then finished on the teppanyaki grill.
Hunter and sommelier Jordan Marr (ex-Dinner by Heston) compiled the wine list. A majority of the bottles are from small French producers. A by-the-glass list ranges from $12–$25, and includes some bottles with a bit of age.