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Jun 30, 2008 08:02 AM

Superb restaurants beyond the Boston area

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for a superb restaurant (i.e. akin to L'Espalier or No. 9 Park) *outside* of the Boston area - anywhere from a 20-30 minute drive. I'd like to take a friend out to a great restaurant that is a little outside of the city since he knows those restaurants well. Requirements include quiet atmosphere and great food. Price point: similar to L'Espalier. Thanks so much!

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    1. re: Ladycale

      Lumiere in West Newton
      The French place on Main Street in Waltham -- shoot, what's it called?

      1. re: Lucymax

        I second Lumiere!

        There is a French place in Waltham?? The only higher end restaurants I know of on Main St. are Il Capriccio and La Campania, both Italian. I'd be very interested in the French place, though........

        1. re: Science Chick

          Perhaps Lucymax was referring to Elephant Walk in Waltham. That's the only restaurant that is remotely French in the city of Waltham.

    2. Blue Ginger in Wellesley is better than most places in Boston - although I don't think there is anything akin to L'Espalier on the east coast of the US, let alone outside Boston.

      I also highly recommend Sweet Basil in Needham - it's not upscale, in fact it's a very relaxed BYO, but the food will blow you away (assuming you like italian).

      3 Replies
      1. re: Spends Rent on Food

        Though it's in Lenox, I'd say that the experience at Blantyre is quite similar to that at l'Espalier. It is a quiet, precious room with antique unmatching crystal and Limoges china, and the food, I think, is superior to l'Espalier or No. 9.

        1. re: Spends Rent on Food

          Not trying to pick a fight, but just had an awful meal at Blue Ginger and wanted to share a different opinion. Don't believe the hype. Fine dining is about outstanding service, and sophisticated and contrasting flavors with interesting textures; there should be a "Wow!" moment during the meal.

          The food at Blue Ginger was absolutely disgusting - especially for a restaurant at this price point. Most of the flavors did not meld and the dishes were poorly composed. The Asian Lacquered Poussin was so dry, it was gritty, like particle board and we had to send it back. Ming Tsai should be ashamed that this even left his kitchen. The "signature" Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster was so overly salted, you could almost feel your lips pucker; if the lobster was sweet, it was overwhelmed by salt. Our only recommendation is to avoid Blue Ginger!

          1. re: DarwinMBA

            I agree with your asssessment of what constitutes fine dining. We all have different experiences that lead us to different conclusions, but wow, your meal sounds very bad. Did you send it back & notify the captain of the poor execution?

            Even the best places can have an off-night (that's why the best reviewers will visit a place several times before issuing a review). I've found that the caliber of a restaurant can be judged by how they respond when a dish is sent back. Any dish receiving a complaint should be replaced with sincere apologies and errors corrected (and often even removed from the bill).

        2. It's been a while since I've been to Bistro 5 in Medford but that's a similar price point/food style.

          Bistro 5
          5 Playstead Road, Medford, MA 02155

          1. How about Summer Winter in the Burlington Marriott? I've not been, but I love Arrows in Maine by the same guys.


            1 Reply
            1. re: yumyum

              I am a big fan of the food at Summer Winter (service has been uneven). Even though I really enjoy the food there, I would not put it in the same ball park as L'Espalier or No. 9 Park. But you may want to take into consideration that a meal at summer winter will likely cost 40% less than a meal at L'Espalier or No. 9 Park.

            2. As far as my personal tastes are concerned, there's nothing 20-30 minutes outside the city with food anywhere near as well-executed as L'Espalier or No 9 Park.

              If you could push it to more like an hour, I'd suggest checking out some options in Providence. Al Forno and Gracie's are quite different from one another, but they're both upscale and delicious. I also quite like La Laiterie, but it's a bit more casual.

              1 Reply
              1. re: finlero

                In Providence, add Chez Pascal which is terrific too, though not on L'Espalier level.