Somerville, MA 02143
Named for both the flower and the fruit, Bergamot Restaurant in Somerville is the collaborative effort from chef Keith Pooler and General Manager Servio Garcia. From the semi-open kitchen and out into the warm, honey-hued dining room comes progressive American cuisine. The dishes, which are ingredient-driven with a focus on local product and seasonality, will occasionally (i.e. whenever Pooler wants to have a little fun) pull from French, Asian, Latin American and Mediterranean culinary traditions.
Bergamot, which makes its home in the Beacon Street storefront that most recently housed EVOO, features a full bar with a wide array of both classic and modern cocktails in addition to wine and beer.
A native of Gloucester, Chef Keith Pooler has always had a great appreciation for the bounty of both the land and the sea - it shows on the menu at his Somerville restaurant, Bergamot.
When he was growing up, spring months brought fresh dandelion greens and fiddleheads; summer meant raspberries, blackberries and blueberries from the family's bushes; and fall was for harvesting the family's gardens. Since Gloucester is one the country's oldest fishing ports, there was no shortage of seafood either. "Life was a clambake - literally," Pooler says. "Clambakes on the beach were frequent; my cousins all worked on fishing boats and let me come along too-we had the most fantastic clambakes all summer."
Graduating top of his class at the Culinary Institute of America, Pooler's culinary resume is an impressive one. He has foraged the region's woodlands for mushrooms, berries and herbs with Chef Daniel Bruce while working at The Boston Harbor Hotel. He sharpened his eye and technique under the expert guidance of Rick Laakonen during his time at The River Café in New York and then went on to Lespinasse to work under Chef Gray Kunz. He was instrumental in the launch and first two years of operation for Ilo at the Bryant Park Hotel in New York, which earned rave reviews from the New York press.
In 2002, Pooler returned to Boston, taking on the role of Executive Sous Chef at Harvest, in Cambridge. When planning for their next endeavor, Excelsior, Managing General Partner Ken Himmel called upon Pooler to work alongside Lydia Shire in the kitchen of Boston's most anticipated restaurants.
Pooler crossed the Charles back to Cambridge to assume the role of Executive Chef at Harvest in late summer of 2004. The restaurant's long-standing tradition of working closely with local farmers, fishermen, foragers and purveyors was a perfect match for Pooler's culinary sensibilities.
In 2007, with plans to open his own place percolating, Pooler left Harvest, taking a position at Lydia Shire's venture in the newly opened Liberty Hotel, Scampo. In 2010, Pooler opened Bergamot in Somerville, where he serves an ingredient-driven, progressive American menu in a warm neighborhood setting.