When a chef describes his restaurant as "ingredient-driven," I tend to have high expectations. The thinking being, if he takes the trouble to find the freshest local carrots and asparagus, chances are good he also won’t overcook, overspice, or overwhelm them in a muddle of sauces.
Such is the promise—and the delivery—at Persephone, Michael Leviton’s new Fort Point Channel eatery. Leviton, of Newton’s highly regarded Lumière, has cultivated a network of nearby farms and fisheries, and he knows how to keep the focus on the good stuff they supply him. Sweet Maine shrimp are simply dusted in semolina and flash-fried with chilies. Grilled chicken is served with a salad of arugula, pine nuts, raisins, and grilled bread—a nod to San Francisco’s lauded Zuni Café, which Leviton says inspired the menu. Even the bar snacks surpass the ordinary (fresh-baked bacon-and-sea-salt pretzels with your Dark and Stormy?).
Persephone’s location is unusual, as it shares a lofty space with the posh boutique Achilles. All high ceilings, exposed brick, wood floors, and minimalist décor, the restaurant has an airy feeling, and while overlit in the bar area, it’s warm and inviting in the back dining room. The effect, like the food, is modern and organic.
283 Summer St., Boston, 617-695-2257, achilles-project.com.