Best Chef

Haidar Karoum
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
It’s hard enough doing one restaurant right, let alone three in completely different cuisines. But Haidar Karoum oversees the kitchens at a trio of the city’s top and most diverse restaurants: Proof, Estadio, and Doi Moi. I already knew that Karoum prepares some mean charcuterie at wine-centric Proof and that he makes a damn good Spanish tortilla at Estadio, but the debut of Doi Moi last year gave me new level of respect for this versatile chef. With the help of a three-week research trip to Thailand and Vietnam, Karoum now turns out Southeast Asian cuisine with a spicy authenticity and polished flare. Between the crispy whole fish, blue crab fried rice, and chicken coconut curry with egg noodles and pickled mustard greens, the food is better and better on each visit. Which is the sign of a chef who isn’t resting on his laurels.
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