Jason Neroni's not the only New York City name looking to make it big in Portland: Eater confirmed today that New York transplant Sarah Pliner (formerly head chef at the West Village's Socialista Downstairs and veteran of Ducasse and Aquavit) will open up Aviary, a small-plates style spot, on NE Alberta sometime early next year. "Coming from New York, we wanted to be part of a neighborhood," Pliner says. "Alberta is such a vibrant, happening place."
Pliner (who spent about 10 years in Portland during the '90s — cooking at the Heathman and Giorgio's), is pairing with fellow schooled-in-NYers Jasper Shen (Aquavit, Jean-Georges) and Kat Whitehead for the project, and their eclectic mix of influences shows up in the menu. "We've all worked in a million kinds of restaurants," Pliner says, "and we want to take the best of things we've done." A sneak peek at a working menu reveals three sections: Small plates (featuring roast goose salad and oxtail croquettes); a vegetarian "seasonal" menu (think tempura pumpkin and cauliflower veloute); and large plates (like crispy pig ear with coconut rice, and brioche-crusted halibut with uni). NY strip streak is the priciest item, at $16.
Build-out is in progress; projected opening date: January.