Improving Western 'burbs?
I don't know if I'm finding restaurants previously missed, or the new places are worth noting, or both, but here West / Northwest of Boston there are several places worth noting.
Lexington: Lexx offers comfort food done well. Khushboo is an excellent Indian restaurant, where I very much enjoyed the House Special Biryani and the Peshawari Nan.
Maynard (yes, Maynard): Blue Coyote prepares pub / comfort food quite well, and the Cast Iron Kitchen is an excellent newcomer. CIK's "little plates," like the fried baby artichoke hearts with an aioli dipping sauce, the sizzling shrimp tapas, and especially the sweet potato fries (piled a la Jenga) are terrific. The large plates, like the tuna steak and the recent special Beef Wellington are also terrific. I have yet to try either the mac 'n cheese or the beefy mac 'n cheese, but that's coming.
Sudbury: Oishii Too has been often noted in here, and rightly so. Two dishes of special merit at Oishii: the crispy sake maki with mango sauce is an incredible combo of flavors, and the cooked lobster with a spicy sauce is very special. The price is high, and you have to call the day before so they have your 2-lb. lobster on hand, but on those occasions when you're willing to spend, you won't be disappointed. For more standard fare, Sky is a solid performer.
Westford: If you're willing to cruise that way, Bamboo's sushi specials, like the salmon ceviche are excellent. I haven't tried the Chinese food at Bamboo, as I'm a sushi nut.
Groton (continuing to move further out): Filho's Cucina is a tremendous little Italian joint. They don't sell alcohol, but the liquor store accessible through a door inside the restaurant will take care of that need. Of course, the Gibbet Hill Grill is an excellent option for more high-end dining.
Concord and Acton both have many eateries, but unfortunately none are stand-outs. That's kind of a bummer as they're the closest drive!
I don't think the Western burbs are as bad as everyone makes them out to be. Of course, it depends on what you're including in the "Western burbs" moniker, but we live in Sudbury and I feel like we eat pretty well within a 10 mile or so radius.
We're practically regulars at Cast Iron Kitchen. My daughter gets the mac and cheese sometimes, it's OK. Very heavy on the breadcrumbs. I think that their burger is the absolute best around. Order it medium, it's perfect. They actually add salt, which for whatever reason a lot of place neglect on their burgers, and the beef is grass-fed. Their fries are good too. I find it difficult to order anything else. The arugula salad is very good, and I liked the scallops (although wished I'd ordered the burger). My husband loved the steak frites.
I have had two quite awful experiences at Oishii, but I know I'm in the clear minority here. Had one bad experience, then decided to give them another chance, then had an awful experience with "fishy" fish. Never again. Fugakyu has decent, reliable, if run-of-the-mill sushi - we probably order from there once a week.
I love the good Thai place in Maynard. I think it's called Thai Chili. Everything I've had there is good - the pad see yew is especially good, and we had a curry that was really good too. You need to ask them to turn up the heat if you actually want it spicy. The curry we ordered (supposedly two stars) was very flavorful but mild enough for my two year old.
I like Lotus Blossom for what it is - good, Americanized Chinese food. So sue me.
I actually really love Rossini's in Sudbury too. I think they're a chain. Their pizzas are very reliably good and their salads are good too. My husband also likes the meatball calzone.
Sichuan Gourmet is my current addiction. Are we counting Framingham? Surely they must be considering in the Western burbs. The dried chicken in chili sauce is the stuff of dreams.
If we're considering Framingham, I should also mention J&M Diner (although I shouldn't publicize it since it's hard enough to get into as it is ;-)). The pancakes are awesome, and I don't even like pancakes. They use "real" breakfast sausage, if you know what I mean, and they know how to cook an egg over easy.
I really like Sweet Bites Bakery and Cafe in Acton. Above average pastries, sandwiches and soups and salads. Not cheap, but good quality.
Sweet Bites Bakery & Cafe
5 Spruce St, Acton, MA 01720
Its been a couple of years- but the chinese food at Bamboo in Westford was pretty good- esp for out there. Yangtze River (the only other Chinese spot near there) is pretty terrible.