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3 places we supported this week

Want to order from local, independent restaurants? Here are some suggestions from Globe staff.

Food from Feather & Wedge in Rockport.Michael J. Bailey


For Rockport’s restaurants, all winters are a challenge, as about half its residents and nearly all its tourists leave. This winter, COVID turned the challenge into the near impossible. Yet at Feather & Wedge, perseverance and strength are built into the name: With a fistful of 3-inch wedges and feathers (metal shims), a hammer-wielding stonecutter can split a massive slab of granite. The restaurant takes its motifs from Cape Ann’s quarrying history; its fresh ingredients come from the region, too. Feather & Wedge relies on the docks of Gloucester for its fish and the farms of New England for its produce. Start your meal with a dozen Plymouth Harbor oysters, small and succulent and packed in ice. When you first open a carton of fish stew, the mussels, shrimp, and pieces of whatever fish is freshest are packed so high and dense, you may ask, did they forget the broth? It’s there, initially subtle, with hints of saffron and fennel, allowing the flavor of seafood to come through. It also packs some sneaky, spicy heat that builds through the meal. The blackened swordfish is equally successful. Too often with this Cajun twist, the spices can overwhelm the fish or the cooking process can dry it out. Here, the flesh is juicy and the flavor pleasingly complex. Co-owner Charles Gladstone (with Stephen Smit) credits the survival of the tiny spot — 50 maximum capacity in non-COVID times — to a decision by the town to allow a small temporary deck on the front sidewalk during the summer, and to sustained interest in takeout during the winter. “A lot of people have helped us survive,’' Gladstone said, citing federal and state aid and town flexibility. “We cannot be more appreciative of what the community has done for us.”

Feather & Wedge, 5 Main St., Rockport, 978-999-5917, www.featherandwedge.com. Appetizers $15-$22. Entrees $17-$29.


— MICHAEL BAILEY, Assistant Night Editor


A dish from Mitho in Winchester.Mitho Restaurant


Winchester went a little wild when Mitho Restaurant moved in. A town of many pizza shops — five within walking distance of my house — it is rife with cozy familiars, not bold varietals. Then, in 2019, one restaurant broke the mold and opened with cuisine that was entirely new to me — Nepali fusion.

The kids will love the momos, my neighbors assured me, and they were right indeed. Small, tender, steamed dumplings filled with chicken, vegetables, lamb, or buffalo, they come with a sauce so scrumptious that my once-finicky 14-year-old son was hoarding it on our last order; Dad got glared at for his quick momo dip.

A dish from Mitho in Winchester.Mitho Restaurant

Grownups will be intrigued by the range of ingredients and spices to be sampled here (with the spice level adjusted by dish. I’m a “4”). My husband was seduced by the wild boar ribs. My daughter enjoyed the salmon kale salad with colorful and surprising sauces. The shrimp bhuteko appetizer is a charming dish that features puffed rice. The dishes called “chilies” are not chili; they’re fantastic sautéed combinations of meat and spices with basmati rice. Mandatory for my family is an order of chicken stir-fry noodles, which come out firm and distinct, not soggy and laden with sauce as they might in my own kitchen. I love learning to cook dishes like these, but with Mitho doing it so well right in the neighborhood, I will happily walk for it.


Mitho Restaurant, 831 Main St., Winchester, 781-369-1477, www.mithoma.com. Appetizers $6-$13. Entrees $15-$27. Desserts $6-$9.


Crispy shrimp bánh mì and the Mom's Classic Tofu vermicelli bowl from Cafe Phinista in the Fenway.Erin Kuschner


At the beginning of the pandemic, I tried giving up coffee, a valiant effort that lasted a full four months or so until Cafe Phinista opened, at which point I surrendered. You might, too, if you had Phinista’s Vietnamese egg coffee, a surreally smooth drink made dessert-like with a floater of condensed milk and egg yolk.

Run by Yeanie Bach and Phi Pham, the Fenway cafe has leveled up the neighborhood’s caffeine game with a roster of Vietnamese coffees — drip coffee, lattes infused with lavender or rose syrup, and a 50/50 (half Vietnamese iced coffee, half oolong milk tea). Over time, it incorporated dishes from Bach and Pham’s West Roxbury restaurant, Bánh Mì Ơi, including fantastic bánh mì, rice bowls, and vermicelli bowls. Bánh mì can be ordered with barbecue pork, crispy shrimp, and lemongrass steak, but I’m a fan of the classic combination of pork bologna, ham, and pâté, contained in a light-as-a-feather baguette with crust that shatters after each bite. (“It’s a crumb bath,” my sister said on a recent visit, motioning to the flaky bread accumulating around her.) There are excellent crepes for dessert, triangles splitting open with banana, custard cream, and caramelized walnuts.

Now that patio weather has arrived, I like to pair an egg coffee with a tofu vermicelli bowl on the patio (there are tables inside the narrow cafe as well, where plants hang from the ceiling and flourish on countertops). A quick twirl picks up slippery noodles, pickled carrots and daikon, marinated tofu, and a dressing of fish sauce, and the portions are always larger than I remember. Or you could order your meal to go, carrying a paper sleeve stuffed with a bánh mì under one arm to consume in the car, crumb bath and all.


Cafe Phinista, 96 Peterborough St., Boston, www.phinista.com. Coffees and teas $3.50-$6. Sandwiches and entrees $8-$12. Crepes $10.

— ERIN KUSCHNER, Boston.com Food Writer