Chef Matthew Lightner Is Leaving Atera

After a much-lauded three years at Atera, chef Matthew Lightner is leaving the restaurant next month, says the New York Times: “He said that he intended to remain in New York and that he was hoping to create a high-end restaurant along with ‘something casual and fun, comfort food’ that would reflect his upbringing in Nebraska.” No location yet, and he told Eater it’ll still be “high-end.”

Atera, meanwhile, will close on March 28 for a little renovation to the “lounge areas” (there’s more than the sub-basement one?). And then on April 21, new chef Ronny Emborg (above) will make his debut. The 32-year-old Dane “worked at El Bulli and Mugaritz in Spain, was the personal chef for Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and has most recently been at the Restaurant Marchal in the Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen,” says the Times. “He is known for food that engages all the senses.” His 2013 book, The Wizard’s Cookbook, sold out.

Three of Emborg’s recipes are below, along with a video; his cooking certainly looks related to the what came from Lightner’s laboratory-as-kitchen. “Prices are expected to stay the same,” says Eater. “$225 for tasting menu and $165 for the wine pairing, $325 for the reserve pairing, and $55 for the ‘tea progression.'” Time for another Kickstarter campaign…?

UPDATE: Eater spoke with Emborg. “Remarkably, though he and Lightner know each other, Emborg has never eaten at Atera, and never will, since it will close before he arrives in the States. He has, however, eaten at Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, WD-50 and Blue Hill (although not Blue Hill at Stone Barns, which he is ‘looking forward’ to visiting). But don’t expect his cooking to resemble any of those restaurants. When asked which he felt closest to spiritually, his reply was curt: ‘I am not close to them, I will use a lot more vegetables and a lot more raw flavors. Classic preparation, but with a Nordic twist, with the lightness and rawness.’ The chef will also add juices to the menu, both incorporated into the cocktail program, and as a possible pairing option in place of wine. Expect, he says, drinks like a toasted hay and anise soda.” Also, the dining room is getting remodeled, too, and the lounge might get “repurposed.”

Hare quince and wilted leavesjuniper bush parfaitfried unripe elderberry branch