Off-the-Beaten-Path Bites: Restaurants Worth the Extra Effort
Sure, major cities like Manhattan and Washington DC offer world-class dining options, but sometimes the most memorable meals require a little more effort. These unique restaurants are off the beaten path, but their slow, stunning cuisine is well worth the trip.
At Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the mouthwatering dishes are about as fresh as one can get. Farm-to-table visionary Chef Dan Barber helms this Westchester, NY gem, which sits on the grounds of a working farm thirty miles outside of Manhattan. Here, the eggs are laid daily by on-site chickens, and the carrots are picked just a few yards away from the kitchen. The result is food that is as delectable as it is ethical. Dishes change nightly depending on the day’s haul, ensuring a unique experience for newcomers as well as repeat guests.
Former Top Chef contestant Bryan Voltaggio opened VOLT in 2008 in his hometown of Frederick, MD, just outside of Washington DC. The restaurant uses seasonal ingredients and classic flavor combinations, and each dish that comes out of the kitchen is a work of art. Vibrant colors and unexpected textures fill each plate, wowing guests even before they’ve taken a bite. “VOLT is my flagship,” says Voltaggio. “It’s the restaurant I’ve worked my entire life for. It is my truest expression as a chef.”
Aiming to emulate the leisurely lifestyle of the European countryside, R.B. and Jenny Fitch opened Fearrington House in 1980 in a former homestead outside of Durham, NC. “Getting out of the city, slowing down, makes the experience more memorable,” explains Greg Fitch, the couple’s son and Fearrington’s vice president. Executive Chef Colin Bedford reinvents the sophisticated, regional menu each season and rarely repeats a dish from one year to the next. “We have a lot of repeat business, so we want guests to experience something new each time.” explains Bedford. “Changing dishes [also] keeps [the staff] motivated and inspired.”
About an hour’s drive from Quebec City, Taniere offers a true dining experience. Chef Frederic Laplante’s menu includes local staples like venison but with a molecular gastronomic twist. Diners can enjoy ten-, fifteen- and twenty-course tasting menus of innovative, exquisite dishes like “Fireworks” (granny smith apples, basil coriander and mint) and “Antique Conquest” (scallops, mango and cucumber). From the artwork on the walls to the innovative serving pieces, every aspect of this restaurant is thoughtfully appointed with the guest experience in mind.
These out-of-the-way eateries may not be the most convenient, but your taste buds will be eternally grateful. When hunger strikes on your next urban sojourn, think outside the city limits.