When it comes to seasonal ingredients, fall in New England is an embarassment of riches. Apples and pumpkins and cranberries, oh my! There's something for every taste. But there are only so many pies and casseroles we can handle in a few months' time. So here's where to find some dishes that take traditional fall flavors to unexpected places.
Fennel-cured Duck at Beacon Hill Bistro
Strolling Beacon Hill on a crisp fall night? Wind down at chef Josh Lewin's tempting bistro in the Beacon Hill Hotel, where you'll bite into a hearty fennel-cured duck with butternut squash, cranberry and puffed rye (617-723-7575).
R-Rated Mac 'n' Cheese at Rox Cafe
Fall is for comfort food. And this "R-Rated" mac 'n' cheese at Rox takes it to the next level with seasonal grilled apples added to its generous portions of pancetta. It's served with a Ritz cracker crust, and you can add lobster if you're still yearning for a bit of summery seafood (617-916-0239).
Maine Sea Urchin at Eastern Standard
Apple pie? How common. Apple crisp? Standard fare. But chef Patrick Campbell of Eastern Standard gets a little more innovative with the humble handfruit, using pickled apple, ginger and wasabi root to imbue a Maine sea urchin with Asian flair (617-532-9100).
Apple Vinaigrette Scallop at Lineage
Surf meets turf at Lineage, where chef Alex Saenz turns an apple orchard harvest into vinaigrette for his supple scallops. They're served with carrots for a full cornucopia of flavors (617-232-0065).
Pear Ravioli at Prezza
Pasta plus pear equals perfection. Chef Anthony Caturano combines New England flavor with Italian style, preparing a buttery pear ravioli with rabbit and pecorino cheese that's available as an appetizer or an entree (617-227-1577).
Plum Jam Fritter at Rialto
Cider donuts? Been there, done that. For a more unique sweet, bite into this plum jam fritter from Rialto. Add walnut conserve, lemon ice cream, honeyed walnuts and vanilla anglaise. Serve: now (617-661-5050).
Sugar Pumpkin Risotto at Society on High
You'll get your fair share of pumpkin pie this season. So skip yet another slice and opt for a bowl of this sugar pumpkin risotto with Parmesan cheese and sage. Looks gourd-geous (857-350-4555).
Sous-Vide Pork Belly at Tico
Candy roaster squash cream adds an extra fall-ish flavor to chef Michael Schlow's sous-vide pork belly. With toasted baby Brussels sprouts and blood orange purée? That sounds delicious during any season (617-351-0400).
Antelope Meatloaf at Tip Tap Room
We don't think the pilgrims would have thought to turn their cranberry harvest into cranberry jalapeño au jus. Luckily, chef Brian Poe did. He uses it for his antelope meatloaf, served with a cheesy potato cake (857-350-3344).
Queen Scarlet Turnip at Ribelle
Turnip: a bane of childhood existence. Coming from chef Tim Maslow, though, it's a chilly-weather treat when served with grilled greens, meatballs and parsnip cheese (617-232-2322).