28 Grand St.
(bet. Sixth Ave. and Thompson)
More casual than fancy

Chef William Shen (who has worked at Jean-Georges, Morimoto, and Masa) and manager Katar Varivar (Bryant Park Hotel, Jean-Georges, the Gramercy Park Hotel) teamed up for a 14-seat restaurant on Grand Street. The space is bare-bones, and brightly lit; everyone in the restaurant is on display to anyone who walks or drives by. Four of the 14 seats are at a counter overlooking the open kitchen, where you can watch—and interact with—Shen. The name Ato comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “art”; accordingly, the plating is a bit precious—tweezers have most certainly been deployed—and portions are dainty. The food is very good, combining the clarity of Japanese flavors with French richness.