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.
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).
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.
A decade ago, Chuck Silverston was walking the streets of Paris when he happened upon a street vendor whipping up crepes. After tasting the quintessential Parisian treat, he returned to the states and promptly opened Paris Creperie. Inside the cozy caf?, the kitchen churns out crepes brimming with savory ingredients such as brie and apples or sweet fillings such as graham cracker and cinnamon, as well as smoothies and coffee. Nutella is a mainstay on the menu, making its way into dessert crepes as well as into drinks such as hot chocolate and lattes. In the spirit of Chuck?s original street-vendor encounter, Paris Creperie also unleashes its food truck?la Tour Eiffel?among the hungry denizens of greater Boston, feeding passersby with breakfast and dinner crepes all day.
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.
Leaning on more than 35 years of experience championing French cuisine, Sandrine's Bistro's co-owner and chef, Raymond Ost, brings the same blend of classic and contemporary flavors to Cambridge that earned him knighthood from the French government. According to the Boston Globe, Chef Ost began his culinary career at 13 with an apprenticeship in Alsace, France. Today, many of Sandrine's menu items hail from and are inspired by the region, such as traditional tarte flambées made with crispy flatbread and nutmeg-scented fromage blanc. A fireplace flickers off the zinc bar where mixologists craft specialty cocktails, pour wine, and blend liquors from an extensive bar menu. The decor is elegant, with white-draped tables popping against deep-burgundy pillars and sage walls. Chandelier light enlivens an avant-garde mirror divided into geometric shapes, and sumptuous draperies remind diners to pick their togas up from the dry cleaner.