As these six restaurants prove, the next movement in gourmet dining is the reverse commute. Ready for a trip out of the city?
Portland to Dundee, Oregon (27.2 miles)
Paulée (pictured above)
Portland may be the gastronomic center of the universe, but the best new restaurant in the area is actually half an hour southwest of town. At his 90-seat modern farmhouse, chef Sean Temple performs culinary sleight of hand anchored by a deep-rooted respect for Oregon ingredients.
Dish Worth Driving For: Sweet, briny Dungeness-crab roll served over puréed celery root.
New York City to Montclair, New Jersey (18.6 miles)
At this modernist destination, chef Tre Ghoshal keeps a handheld food smoker in his holster, deploying it—along with other tricks from NYC's wd~50 camp—to create imaginative multi-course tastings.
Dish Worth Driving For: A creamy portobello-mushroom mousse served under a glass dome piped full of lavender smoke.
San Francisco to Larkspur, California (16.1 miles)
Bel Campo Meat Co.
Savvy San Fran carnivores descend on the gleaming-white butcher shop/restaurant to collect farm-fresh eggs and grass-fed rib eyes but stay for chef Ross Wollen's hyper-local meals.
Dish Worth Driving For: Succulent salt-and-peppered lamb belly, cast-iron seared, then braised in lamb stock, lemon, and sage.
Chicago to Skokie, Illinois (14.6 miles)
Before Libertad, Skokie's most recent claim to fame was a fictitious barbershop quartet referenced in The Usual Suspects. Now the Chicago burb gets love for having the metro area's smartest Latin American cooking.
Dish Worth Driving For: Pan-seared scallops and black rice electrified with tart, fiery yuzu-habanero butter.
Philadelphia to Merion, Pennsylvania (9.1 miles)
Citron and Rose
The team behind the acclaimed Israeli eatery Zahav gives glatt kosher a makeover on the Main Line, and the Eastern European-inflected plates are a hit with even the most goyish Gentiles.
Dish Worth Driving For: Stew with braised lamb shank, soft-boiled eggs, and sausage made from sweet potatoes, challah, and veal.
Boston to Milton, Massachusetts (8.4 miles)
Steel & Rye
Chef Chris Parsons lures Bostonians to Milton with the promise of fresh, hearty regional fare served beneath 30-foot ceilings in a converted industrial garage.
Dish Worth Driving For: Creamy potted foie gras with sweet pear butter, house-baked brioche, and poached Maine cranberries.