Neighbor

Emily and Archie Coates
Photography by Ryan Patterson

April 20 2015

We are husband and wife, Emily and Archie Coates. We live in an old tea factory tucked under the Williamsburg Bridge on South 4th Street in Brooklyn, where we’ve spent nearly the past two years running a part-time restaurant called Neighbor.

he night we got engaged, I took Emily to Jim Haynes’ studio in Montparnasse in Paris, who had been doing the same dinner, for 50 people, almost every Sunday for over 30 years. We walked in and he was just sitting there on a stool, 79 years old, with a big belly and an apron on. He looked at me in the eye. He already knew my name, and said: “Archie, welcome. Go talk to that person over there and have a good time.” It was packed to the walls. We ate and drank and talked until we stumbled back home. We get chills when we talk about it.

Archie and Emily

We make a meal for 16 people or so, sometimes more, every fourth Saturday of the month in the house. Emily preps every part of the meal, the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. The meals come naturally from whatever we’re eating at the time, becoming more and more products of conversation and constant experiments. A long list of dishes grows that we love to make, and we eventually curate them into 4 courses, sometimes themed, sometimes not.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten more and more involved with the preparation and cooking, but it’s always been about the experience with people. When I’m not hosting, serving and helping her get the plates together and in front of people, I do the dishes, constantly. When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m instigating conversation.

We try to invite everyone in our life, to make sure they know they’re invited. We don’t do much to promote it, but for the past few months, half the people coming we don’t know, which is one of the best parts. We want people to meet, to learn things they never expected. It’s not hard, because all people are interesting.

We’re extremists. We want this every month for the rest of our lives.

Goat Pea Butter

Goat Pea Butter

1 package goat butter, or a creamy icelandic butter

1 bunch mint, diced

2/3 cup fresh or frozen peas

salt to taste

1. Let butter sit at room temperature and soften for a few hours. Once it’s soft, put in a small bowl and mix up a little.

2. Boil a small pot of water. Once boiling, add in peas and cook for 2-3 minutes. Strain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

3. There are two ways to incorporate the peas into the butter. If you want a more rustic texture, mash the peas with a potato masher for a minute or two and fold into the softened butter. If you want a smooth spread, puree the peas in a processor before adding to the butter. At this point, you can return the butter to the fridge for up to several days, or serve immediately. Just remember to let the butter soften at room temperature before using.

4. Right before you’re ready to serve, dice the mint as finely as possible. Fold into the softened pea butter. Add salt to taste. Serve.

This butter can be kept for a long time and used in a million ways, so make extra! For the last Neighbor dinner, we slathered it on hot grilled country bread, and topped it with roasted Chanterelle mushrooms and fresh Rainier cherries.

Variations

Put it on sliced white bread and top with thinly sliced radishes and pea sprouts for a light tea sandwich.

Use as a base for virtually any fruit crostini—grilled peaches, thinly sliced crisp apples.

Make a small snack by using the butter as a dip for salted french radishes.

Use as a stand alone spread on a cheese board.

Use as a replacement for oil or regular butter in a pasta dish when finishing a sauce. The more simple the pasta dish, the better to let the pea and mint flavors shine through.