Homesick Dishes: The Best Out-of-Town Outposts for Regional Cuisine

Craving authentic Texas barbecue? Awesome — if you're in Texas, that is. How about a Maryland crab boil? Frustrating — if you're far from Maryland. But there is hope: These outposts across the country have made regional cuisine their specialty, despite being far from the regions they specialize in.

Photo By: Kaufman's

Photo By: Podnah's Pit

Photo By: Ozzie's Crab House

Photo By: Bistro La Roux

Photo By: The Maine Lobster Lady Food Truck

Photo By: Gino's

Photo By: Tiki Tim's Food Truck

New York Bagels

Trying to replicate that real New York-style combination of a shiny, crusty exterior and a dense, chewy middle has driven some bagel makers to go so far as to import water from the Big Apple for the cooking process. But these bagelries don't rely on gimmicks, just great family recipes and the good old-fashioned boil-then-bake technique that leaves just about everyone craving a schmear.

 

Where: The Bagel Factory: St. Louis; Kaufman's Bakery and Delicatessen: Skokie, Ill.;  Wholy Bagel: Austin; The Bagel Broker: Los Angeles

Texas Barbecue

You won't find overly saucy meats or baroque flavor combinations at any of these joints; beef brisket is king, rubbed with seasonings and smoked for hours, to get that authentic Texas experience of meltingly tender meat and plenty of "burnt ends."

 

Where: Hill Country Barbecue: Brooklyn, New York City & Washington, D.C.; Smoque: Chicago; Sweet Cheeks Q: Boston; Podnah's Pit: Portland, Ore.

Maryland Crab Boil

They live in our imaginations, those perfect seaside crab joints that serve blue crabs by the pile, where the tablecloth is made of newspaper and your utensil is a mallet. Well, even if the seaside is far away, the flavors and ambience at these crab houses will convince you otherwise.

 

Where: Ozzie's Crab House: Palm Bay, Fla.; Clemente's Crab House: Brooklyn; Crab Corner Maryland Seafood House: Las Vegas 

New Orleans Creole & Cajun

One is a newfangled Brooklyn spot that spins Big Easy dishes in bold new ways, while the other is an unassuming storefront in the unlikeliest of places. Both of these restaurants deliver true Louisiana bayou flavor.

 

Where: Tchoup Shop: Brooklyn; Bistro La Roux: Circle Pines, Minn.

New England Lobster Roll

Huge chunks of sweet lobster meat and a rich toasted bun — and little else — have made these spots beloved additions to their decidedly non-New England towns.

 

Where: BP Oysterette: Santa Monica & Mid-Wilshire, Calif.; The Maine Lobster Lady Food Truck (winter months): Scottsdale, Ariz.; Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster: Austin

Chicago Pizza

New York-style pizza gets all the press, but there are some equally die-hard fans of thick, buttery Chicago-style pizzas, and they can enjoy some delicious replicas easily if they find themselves in California or Texas.

 

Where: Zachary's Chicago Pizza: California (various locations); Little Star Pizza: San Francisco (various locations); Gino's East of Chicago: Texas & Lake Geneva, Wis. (various locations); Chicago's Finest Pizza: Plano, Texas

California Fish Tacos

Crunchy, melt-in-the-mouth chunks of fish and the tang of a vinegary slaw on top — it's not hard to understand why Baja-style fish tacos have a following all over the U.S. of A.

 

Where: Tacombi at Fonda Nolita: New York City (various locations); Dorado Tacos and Quesadillas: Brookline, Mass.; Gringo: St. Louis; Tiki Tim's Food Truck: Twin Cities, Minn.

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