Scopa, Healdsburg, California
Named after one of Italy’s most popular—and loudest—card games, this understated Sonoma County trattoria telegraphs authenticity and delivers with cooking that gets the details right. One bite of tomato-braised tripe or marinated sardines is enough to conjure up every trip to Italy you’ve ever (or never) taken.
What to Eat: Sauces, confits, and ragùs stand out, including the wild-boar Bolognese served with house-made tagliatelle.
What to Drink: The wine list is a delightful amalgamation of the unsung, obscure, and hard-to-find, including Germano Ettore’s fragrant, versatile 2007 Langhe Nebbiolo ($42), declassified Barolo from the latest in a string of superb vintages. Dinner for two $60.
Blu, Glen Arbor, Michigan
The Leelanau Peninsula’s bracing Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris—and its spectacular scenery—have begun drawing wine tourists to the eastern edge of Lake Michigan. At his 10-table lakefront dining room tucked beside a condominium complex, Randy Chamberlain emphasizes regional ingredients—down to the fir-needle soap in the restroom—and cooks perfectly composed dishes for diners ogling sunsets over the water.
What to Eat: White-tail venison with dried cherries and port-wine jus is a house standard.
What to Drink: Brys Estate’s 2007 Signature Red, a lush three-grape blend from the Old Mission Peninsula across the bay ($58). Dinner for two $120.
Moro’s Table, Auburn, New York
Edward Moro did stints in Napa and Oregon wine country before becoming head chef at the Mirbeau Inn & Spa, in the Finger Lakes resort town of Skaneateles. This summer, he opened the informal Moro’s Table in nearby Auburn, serving an eclectic mix of small plates, sushi, and robust main dishes that showcase his wide-ranging talent.
What to Eat: Daily specials such as slow-cooked veal with risotto (Wednesday) and lobster bouillabaisse (Friday) reflect Moro’s affection for Continental comfort food.
What to Drink: An ever-changing selection of wines by the glass, priced from $5.50 to $14, always includes at least half a dozen from the Finger Lakes, including top producers such as Glenora. Dinner for two $70.
Bruce Schoenfeld is T+L’s wine and spirits editor.