Maybe it’s the fact I’m now on a student budget and the culinary high points of my week tend to involve microwave pasta and/or cheese, but I’m finding I have more of a hankering than ever for the so-called finer things in life.
While it’s true I’ve spent a great deal of time travelling in the US in the past, my fine dining experiences were limited by a relatively restrictive budget. With the exception of a decadent Greek meal at The White House Grill in Post Falls and a romantic clifftop meal somewhere along Route 1, my US trips so far have been mostly junk food or home cooking.
During some idle time (which I have precious little of while I’m reading chapter after chapter about business law and management), I got Googling and came up with six decadent restaurants across six states that I’d sorely like to have.
What did I eat for dinner last night, you ask? Why, home brand ravioli in a microwave sauce!
I assure you, my tastes run considerably finer than that might indicate. Read on and you’ll see!
1. Detroit, Michigan – Slows Bar BQ
One of my absolute favourite guilty pleasure meals is a big, BBQ sauce drenched rack of ribs. It’s far from ideal first date food, but if I’m dining with mates or feel confident I’ve got the girl locked down – ribs are my go to treat.
Slows Bar BQ, in Detroit has been described as “consistently delicious, consistently well-crafted homage to barbecue from all regions.”
They offer barbecue styles from all over, including Texas Style Beef Brisket and Carolina Style Pulled Pork. Their sides are every bit as delectable as their BBQ. I’m itching to try the sweet potato mash or Mom’s green beans.
2. Portsmouth, New Hampshire – Black Trumpet
The Black Trumpet is a family-owned bistro in the historic heart of Portsmouth. They offer fresh-grown, farm-style meals using ingredients from local providers. The green salad with a ricotta-stuffed fig and apricot dressing looks particularly divine, while the Partridge Farm chicken leg with chickpea-fried olives, and broccoli rabe is an entree you’ll return for.
They also serve fresh-baked bread as you sit down with farm-fresh butter blended with honey, all from the owner’s farm. You’ve got to love a place that promotes sustainable dining.
3. Chicago, Illinois – Girl and the Goat
I ate pretty well in Chicago despite it being the final stop on what had been a pricey trip across the United States. Thank God for tax returns!
Not only did I nearly kill myself with a sizable slice from Pizzeria Uno, but the wedding fare was as sumptuous as you’d expect from an affair at classy manor house.
Still, when I got to Chicago I wish I’d checke out the Chicago travel guide on Gogobot. I might have known to go to dinner at Girl and the Goat.
Chef Stephanie Izard is on top of her game at this West Loop restaurant. Where else can you get the mouth-watering, titular roasted goat? Or the uniquely constructed (and imaginatively named) dish called pig face?
The dishes have a restraint and balance that deliver a surprising punch of flavor. Even the deliberately simple kohlrabi salad is full of unexpected zest. Girl and the Goat is very popular, so make your reservations far in advance.
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota – Brasa Premium Rotisserie Restaurant
For meat lovers, the Brasa Premium Rotisserie is their favourite restaurant in the country because it’s all about the slow cooked meat.
They serve home-cooked meals based on Creole-inspired recipes using local and organic ingredients. Each dish is infused with American and Caribbean cooking traditions. I would kill (well, maybe just maim) to try the slow roasted pork, green sauce, corn bread, and guacamole, joining those other meat lovers who find the Brasa their favorite place to eat and a holy place in the church of meat.
5. New Orléans, Louisiana – Borgne
Taking a break from red meat, let’s take a jaunt down to New Orleans where, at The Borgne you’ll find authentic Louisiana coastal cuisine. While eating authentic gumbo down in Louisiana is on my bucket list, I fear I’d be spoiled for choice at The Borgne.
I mean, I could try the empanadas, duck poppers, stuffed artichoke, garlic bread soup, or black drum – all expertly prepared by Chef Brian Landry, a native of New Orléans. Just looking at the above gets my toes curling and puts me on the verge of mouthgasm.
6. New York, New York – Restaurant Marc Forgione
My 24 hours in New York didn’t feature a whole lot of fine dining. The highlight would have to have been a gourmet pizza before catching Sleep No More, but just looking at the above makes my memories of said pizza turn to bitter ash in my mouth. I mean, look at it!
This TriBeCa neighborhood restaurant is a favorite with New Yorkers. The food has been described as “what happens when rockstar style meets rockstar caliber talent with a very well-traveled and observant chef.”
Plates not to be missed include all the red meat dishes, desserts that feature banana Jameson, and the (pictured) chilli lobster.
People go out to eat for the flavour, the environment, and the originality of their favourite restaurants.
What are your favourite restaurants, be that in the United States or wherever you call home?
Featured photo by Luke Chan.