Q&A: The chef of Electric Lemon

How would you describe the culinary concept at Electric Lemon?

Seasonal American. The highest focus for us is using seasonal ingredients from the area surrounding New York. Dishes always start with the produce and are fresh and light. We try not to use a ton of fat, so that the food can shine. 

How have you infused health and wellness into the menu?

I go to the farmers market and ask the farmers what they like at any given time. We try to use different varieties of produce that are grown for flavor and for higher nutritional value—they go hand in hand. It's really awesome to talk with the farmers and see their passion for the ingredients.

Which market do you go to and how often?

Typically someone from our team is at the Union Square Greenmarket three to four mornings a week. Whenever my wife and I travel, I always get excited about going to different farmers markets and I think that this one is the best in the world. The farmers care more about what they're doing than at other markets. It's how I feel about chefs in New York City—they come here to learn and push themselves. 

Who are your favorite local purveyors outside of the farmers?

We buy steelhead trout from a company called Greenpoint Fish and Lobster and they source it from Hudson Valley Fisheries. The fish is sustainably raised and is incredible. We get our shellfish and razor clams from Island Creek Oysters.

What are some of your favorite dishes on the menu?

I love our razor clam marinated with cilantro and jalapeño. I also like our tomato salad and gluten-free chickpea pasta.

How often will the menu change?

As a young chef, you always want a menu where it changes often but as a [more experienced] chef, you want to go to the market, get inspired, and create something consistent that changes based on what's available. If we put a new dish on the menu tonight, it will be good, but in a week it'll be a lot better.

What's exciting to you about having a restaurant in Hudson Yards?

I moved to New York 12 years ago and [right now], I have this feeling every time I walk to work that I did when I first moved. Hudson Yards has a really awesome energy that I haven't experienced in the city in a long time.

Photos: Corry Arnold (pasta, tomatoes), Jason Varney (clams)

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