Local produce, meat, and fish are the sources of the extra freshness sealed, as if by Ziploc, in each Sel de la Terre dish. Chef Louis has built the regularly changing menu around Vermont-raised pig, defining dishes such as coriander-spiced pork with pommes Robuchon, Swiss chard, and baby turnips ($29); braised bacon served with air-dried chicken and a coddled hen egg ($26); and charcuterie terrine cut from the cheek ($3). Freshly hauled Moon Shoal oysters (a half dozen, raw, $14) make for a perfect meal-opener, as does the Cape Cod bluefish pate ($3). Toasted coriander-spiced pork mingles with pommes Robuchon, Swiss chard, baby turnips, and carrots ($29), while the house potato gnocchi features homemade ricotta and mushrooms gathered from New England woods ($19).
Whenever possible, the chefs at Pejamajo Café craft their signature crepes from sustainable ingredients—ranging from meats to eggs to flour—culled from local suppliers. They offer a variety of French-style crepes, including sweet crepes such as Nutella and banana as well as savory crepes such as the unique crepesadilla with Vermont cheddar and salsa. Both pair well with the café’s own line of signature-blended coffee. Each Pejamajo location also houses pastry chefs who spend each day transforming globs of dough into fresh cookies, scones, and edible swords for sword-swallowing apprentices. Pejamajo’s relaxed atmosphere, original coffees, and daily baked pastries have become its signature, and led to an appearance on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters.
The French-Asian duality of AKA Bistro is practically embedded in its founders? DNA. Christian Touche made his way behind the scenes of upscale restaurants in France and Switzerland when still a teenager. His Honolulu-born business partner, Executive Chef Chris Chung, grew up in the rich culinary climate of Macao?a former Portuguese colony on the coast of China?before returning to Hawaii to study sushi.
Touche's and Chung?s paths converged thanks to Boston dining superstar Kenneth Oringer?Touche was working at Clio and Chung was working at Uni when the two met. At AKA Bistro, they?ve transported the upscale ingredients and techniques of both establishments to a less-formal dining space that?s a study in openness, with plentiful windows channeling light onto long tables and comfy booths. The dining room opens onto the kitchen, where guests might catch a glimpse of chefs drawing out flavor and color from sashimi plates of tuna, salmon, and lobster by glazing them with aromatic sauces and topping them with seasonal accents such as compressed Asian pear or black garlic vinaigrette. ?There?s plenty of imagination, but Chung knows when to back off and let the fish?s flavor come through,? Boston magazine remarked of the Japanese side of the menu.
The sounds of sizzling might herald French courses such as hand-cut beef tartare or escargots served with bacon and an herb-tinged butter jus. And like the preceding courses, desserts change nightly and display a careful orchestration of color and flavor. In the strawberry-rhubarb genoise with cr?me fra?che, for instance, bits of red fruit pop against the garnish of a single violet petal. The fusion of warm and cool continues even off the plate: a patio welcomes guests to dine outdoors much of the year, thanks to heat lamps and rainclouds? aversion to ruining a good plate of steak frites.
No matter what country her family was living in at the time, Longteine ?Nyep? De Monteiro?the wife of a Cambodian diplomat?always heard the same thing when she served dinner at one of her lavish parties: ?This is so good! You should open a restaurant!? It wasn't until the rise of the Khmer Rouge forced Longteine and her family to relocate to America that she began to seriously entertain the idea. Longteine finally opened The Elephant Walk in 1991, where she filled the menu with a m?lange of her favorite Cambodian and French recipes.
Since then, Longteine?s daughter Nasda and her son-in-law Gerard Lopez helped her expand The Elephant Walk to three locations. All three Elephant Walks separate their kitchens into French and Cambodian preparation lines, each staffed with chefs adept at both traditional and contemporary dishes. Each dish makes meticulous use of flavorful, wholesome ingredients such as ripe plum tomatoes, fresh tuna, Vermont goat cheese, and organic tofu. The Elephant Walk also serves up a host of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free variants.
The Elephant Walk loves to feed the mind as much as the mouth. During its regularly scheduled Cafe Science series, Brandeis professors deliver compelling lectures on a variety of topics from the Large Hadron Collider to explaining why science alone cannot turn water into chocolate milk. The restaurant has since given upwards of $200,000 to local, national, and international nonprofit organizations fighting poverty.
When he was honored as one of America's Best New Chefs in 2000 by Food & Wine, Michael Leviton was noted for “paring extraneous elements from his French-influenced dishes.” With six consecutive James Beard Award nominations (2005–2010), his desire for simplicity continues today. When not busy with his work as director of the Board of Overseers of the Chefs Collaborative—a network for chefs dedicated to promoting sustainable food—Leviton commands the kitchen at Lumière. Hailed by Boston magazine as one of the city’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2011, Lumière combines French flavors and preparations with modern techniques and a surfeit of local, organic, and sustainable ingredients. The menus routinely change to incorporate new or seasonal ingredients, though eaters can view the sample dinner menu to get an idea of the Leviton's creations and perfect handwriting. Meals unfold inside a 88-seat dining room with a 5-seat bar that serves local beers, international wines, and house-made specialty cocktails.
Petit Robert Bistro channels the relaxed ambiance of an authentic French bistro where common folk can gather for comforting, affordable fare. Blackboards bearing daily specials preside over the intimate eatery where renowned chef Jacky Robert prepares a menu of homestyle French favorites. Cape Cod oysters, sautéed scallops, and Bay-caught seafood spread across plates, and meat aficionados can fix fangs into chicken dishes or the beef short-rib bourguignon or branch out to cakes fashioned from vegan quinoa. Junior foodies peruse a kids' menu laden with pintsize French favorites, including a parisian hot dog and a 5-ounce skirt steak, with all proceeds going to chef Jacky's charity committed to feeding underprivileged children in the Philippines.