BEST STAR CHEF EXPERIENCE IN A RESTAURANT - 2006
Five years ago you could go into most of our top chef-driven restaurants like Alma, Zander, or La Belle Vie and see the chef of note hurling pans behind the line just like folk. Nowadays not only are open kitchens falling from fashion, but you really have to work hard to find a lot of big-name chefs in their own restaurants—they've got chefs de cuisine for that, thank you very much. Not so at Restaurant Levain! Long renowned as one of the most talented chefs to ever stuff a quail or sous vide a short rib, Steven Brown can be seen most nights right in the big open window, balancing rock shrimp on hillocks of risotto, wiping Banyuls reductions off the rims of plates, cracking jokes, giving orders, and, generally, putting all of the art and life into one of this regions most artful and life-enhancing of restaurants. Let the rest of the world experience Brown secondhand via the pages of Art Culinaire and the New York Times—for us, he's just a reservation, and a gap in the wall, away.