We're all for a bit of competitive banter between the East Coast and West Coast culinary sets.
Still, when we heard that Portland, Oregon's golden-boy chef, Matt Lightner, was headed for New York, we knew better than to rub it in Portlanders' faces.
We also knew that Lightner's relocation would be trickier than most. The chef, formerly at Castagna, made his name on whimsical dishes that zeroed in on foraged hyperlocal and obscure ingredients, including wild licorice and sea lettuce. Faced with entirely new territory, Lightner needed a crash course in the flora and fauna of the Northeast in order to open his new project, Atera, in New York City's Tribeca.
So we followed him and forager Kate Galassi (formerly of the Spotted Pig) to New Jersey, where Lightner familiarized himself with an array of herbs at Well Sweep Farm (click here to watch the video).
When Atera opens in a few weeks, Lightner's menu promises to take advantage of the Northeastern bounty he's discovered, showcasing many oft-overlooked weeds and roots, both in and out of the kitchen. For instance, on shelves above the bar, Atera will display some of the fresh herbs from which Lightner is taking inspiration.
Find your own source of dinner inspiration with a sneak peek at the Atera menu: This scallop recipe (click here to see), which is loaded with fresh herbs and the leaves from rose geranium, is the ideal centerpiece of a fragrant, elegant meal.
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