A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, chef Wiechmann draws on his French culinary training to make the most of pure, simple ingredients. Humanely raised meats, local vegetables, and foraged mushrooms can be found across his menu, but not in expected combinations. Dishes such as squid-ink pasta express his indomitable creativity.
It's not always easy to land a seat on the cushioned benches at Sofra; the bakery’s stuffed flatbreads and Middle Eastern pastries just draw too large a crowd. Customers wait patiently in line to place their orders, all the while eyeing displays of almond rose cakes and the colorful dips that fill the mezze bar.
1980s movie memorabilia hangs from the walls of The Breakfast Club, contrasting with a forward-thinking menu of paninis, breakfast quesadillas, and organic teas. Library Specials pay homage to the diner’s eponymous film: The Princess is a belgian waffle topped with seasonal fruit, while The Jock is an egg-white omelet with veggies.
To say The Elephant Walk's co-founder Kenthao de Monteiro had an extremely exciting life before opening up the eatery is putting it a bit mildly. The French-educated politician was once an important diplomat in Cambodia, working as the minister of education and vice president of the Cambodian National Assembly and then serving as the Cambodian ambassador to Taiwan.
According to the New York Times, he was working as the ambassador when the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh in 1975. He and his wife, Longteine de Monteiro, lost everything and spent the ensuing years in Taiwan and France, where they opened a restaurant that displayed Longteine's cooking skills. They eventually made their way over to America in the early '90s and opened another restaurant, The Elephant Walk.
The Elephant Walk now serves up traditional Cambodian entrees, such as the cubed beef tenderloin in black-pepper sauce and lemongrass chicken breast, as well as classic French dishes, such as steak in red-wine beef jus. The menu also caters to vegans, vegetarians, and those with gluten allergies. For those who want to learn how to re-create the dishes at home to impress family, friends, and judgmental cats, The Elephant Walk offers cooking classes led by Longteine, her daughter, Nadsa, and French chef G?rard Lopez.
Inside Chez Henri, owner and chef Paul O’Connell draws on his training at Johnson & Wales University to add Caribbean flourishes to classic French fare, earning his restaurant press accolades and seven Best of Boston awards. Appetizers include braised wild-boar sausage served over cabbage escabeche, and the pan-seared flounder entree arrives with house-made chorizo and West Indian spices. Wash down international flavors with signature cocktails and spirits or a pitcher of fruity sangria from the full bar.
Inside Chez Henri’s simply decorated dining room, handblown glass lighting illuminates warmly colored walls, and huge windows proffer views of the bustling streets between Harvard and Porter Squares. Paul and his staff also transport their delicate fare to catered events of up to 400 people, such as weddings, graduations, or the shared birthday of an NFL team made by cloning Joe Montana.