1999 BEST New Restaurant
Michael Leviton, Lumiere
When Lumiere opened this spring in the culinary hinterland of Newton, unlike most new restaurants, which require an initial shakeout period, it became an instant hit. The reason was simple: The husband-and-wife team of Michael and Jill Leviton didn’t miss a beat in converting a suburban ice cream parlor into a sophisticated and stylish, but relaxing and casual, neighborhood bistro that had impressive food and reasonable prices. Before taking over his neighborhood Brigham’s and throwing out the jimmies, chef Michael Leviton trained at such temples of gastronomy as New York’s Le Bernadin and Le Cirque (under Daniel Boulud) and San Francisco’s Elka. As a result, he arrives with a mastery of French technique and more than a few Asian influences from his time in the Bay Area. In addition to working the front, Jill worked on the stylish decor and put together an unusually thoughtful wine list with some excellent values.