Culinary power couples in three cities
Métier Washington, D.C.
“The most beautiful dining experience in Washington right now” begins on a love seat in a firelit salon, said Ann Limpert in the Washingtonian. Chef Eric Ziebold and host Célia Laurent once worked at the French Laundry, so it’s no surprise that they’ve considered every detail, beginning with canapés and Champagne cocktails in that calming space. The husband-and-wife team have steadily refined their two-year-old restaurant, earning a Michelin star this fall as Ziebold’s cooking has hit a higher level. He’s “more quietly daring than showy,” but his orange-scented mackerel and “butter-like” kuroge beef “have inspired so many ‘best we’ve ever had’ comments that we stopped counting.” Once you start on the playful but refined seven-course tasting menu, “at no moment are you eating anything ordinary,” said Tom Sietsema in The Washington Post. Even staffers admit they were skeptical about a dish that pairs banana and sea urchin, but the fruit and the ocean delicacy “come together magically.” Add in the terrific wine list and discreet service and you’re looking at Washington’s fifth four-star restaurant. “Welcome to the club, Métier.” 1015 7th St. NW (202) 737-7500
Stiltsville Fish Bar Miami
Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis’ newest restaurant will always evoke the couple’s first kiss, said Clarissa Buch in the Miami New Times. In late 2013, the two former Top Chef contestants were out fishing together nearby when they shared a smooch at sunset while moored near the colorful houses of Stiltsville. Today, their Stiltsville Fish Bar welcomes daily delivery of 115 pounds of local catch, and chef de cuisine Kevin Little adjusts the menu accordingly. On good days, there’ll be an “impeccable” cobia tiradito—slices of raw fish layered atop a puddle of lime-green ají amarillo—and a 3-pound snapper for two that’s fried whole, then served propped up on its plate “as if it could leap off.” Chef-centered ventures are blossoming all around Sunset Harbour, but Stiltsville Fish Bar is currently “one of the only restaurants around that serves off-the-boat seafood while maintaining a swanky vibe.” The only question now is whether Booth and McInnis can keep standards high while running restaurants in three cities. 1787 Purdy Ave., (786) 353-0477
Yobo Portland, Maine
The name of the newest Korean restaurant in Portland is a term that means “darling,” and that feels fitting, said Andrew Ross in the Portland Press Herald. Longtime spouses and restaurateurs Sunny Chung and Kim Lully have photos of their adventures on the walls, and they do almost all the work themselves. It’s thus “a testament to Chung’s talent” that slipups are few, and “even more astonishing is that he pulls off complicated, time-consuming dishes like kalbi (marinated and char-grilled beef ribs).” It’s said “you can hear a good bibimbap before you smell it,” and Chung’s arrives amid “a fusillade of sizzles and crackles”—the sound of rice cooking to perfection at the bottom of the pan. The couple harvest their own vegetables in season, and forage for local ingredients like gosari, bracken fern heads. Lully is both the front-of-house manager and the pastry chef responsible for the buttermilk panna cotta with rhubarb, oat crumble, and apple. While the panna cotta is “not Korean at all,” it complements the spicier dishes beautifully. 23 Forest Ave., (207) 536-0986