Feather & Wedge, Rockport’s new place.

bar-at-feather-wedge

Feather & Wedge is open, and it’s even better than I could have imagined.

Its architecture and design are to restaurants what the Shalin Liu is to concert halls: petite but powerful iterations of their province. I walked into Feather & Wedge on Friday evening and felt as if I was walking into a chic, finely lit space, but also a restaurant so intimate and inviting that it seemed to have already been in Rockport for years.

The grand black and white graphic of Blood Ledge Quarry on the immediate wall instantly captured a mix of modernity and antiquity.  (Feathers and wedges are tools used to split granite, referring to Rockport’s once vital quarrying industry.) The room’s clear, punctuated lighting makes the room feel candlelit, effecting enchantment. At the same time Feather & Wedge could have borrowed – in a good way – themes from the main office of the Rockport Granite Company, the Pigeon Cove stoneworks that dominated the town economy at the turn of the 20th century: the high ceilings and over-sized, gently Victorian decorated mirror behind the bar.

 

fw-mirror

 

This is Rockport, our pin-prick of a town, so there were friends, of course, to greet right away. It was truly lovely to say hello, how’s it going, and sit down beside them at the bar, to enjoy the Italian wine,Vernaccia, in a long-stemmed, thin-rimmed wine glass with a proper size bowl. (I have a thing about wine glasses; the shape of the usual stubby restaurant goblet destroys nose and taste and in wine. Why have a good wine list if you are going to kill it in a crude glass?) The wine list is utterly compelling, with a lot of, “oh, they have that!” I couldn’t decide between the Vernaccia or a Loire Sauvignon Blanc so the bartender gave me a sip of the Loire wine, which was delicious, but had slightly more fruit than I wanted at that moment. My guest was instantly happy to see the Provencal Minuty Rose, one of her favorites on the list; I sipped hers which she described as gamey-forward rose, not too sweet, and pairing well with food – and ordered that for my second glass.

We sat at the corner table, one seamless window offered us Main St., and we could nod to friends passing by; the other wall window looked down to the Old Harbor; again, quintessential Rockport framed in new ways.

I am a fan of the limited menu, a few things done very well with the flexibility to highlight local ingredients as they are available. That’s the Feather & Wedge principle so far. I’ve been told the menu may expand a bit more, but never become a fold-out event. Last night we enjoyed a dish so local it deserves a photo on Google Maps: Pastaio Via Corta handmade spaghetti (Pastaio via Corta is the new fresh pasta shop on Center St. in Gloucester), tossed with fresh lobster and local corn. The lobster was as tender as the corn, and all a light, sweet drape over the perfectly al dente spaghetti.

The gutsier entree option was the roast leg of lamb with braised escarole and a half a head of roasted-to-butter- garlic.

 

patrick-steele-executive-chef

 

The executive chef, Patrick Steele, has a provenance with the venerable Barbara Lynch Gruppo. Steele cooked at the Lynch South End seafood restaurant, B&G Oyster, which specialized in small plates of inspired seafood creations. Feather & Wedge similarly offers a variety of small plates (not necessarily seafood) that will change almost daily, making it a nice way to order as a four-some; have the assortment of small plates and then share two entrees. May I say this makes perfect pre-Shalin Liu dining?

To be clear, this is not the local pub; prices reflect the quality of both the bar and dining menus. – A glass of wine is between $8 and $10. Small plates are $7 – $9; and entrees are $25.

At that table in the corner, I was acutely aware of how wonderful this seat, and this restaurant, will be with a light snow falling on Main St. Also, how beautiful it will be after the DPW have raised the small Christmas trees on the streetlights. And then how beautiful it will be in the spring, when the pansies start fluttering in Main Street’s window boxes. Feather & Wedge already feels like classic Rockport.

fw-window

Tags: , , , ,

6 Responses to “Feather & Wedge, Rockport’s new place.”

  1. Stephaniw says:

    I LOVE what you captured here, Heather, and cannot wait to sit with you at that table in the corner. Thank you for this! That last paragraph…

  2. Ellen Verdugo says:

    It is barely 10am and already I would march right up there if I could! Definitely my kind of food and my kind of place… your perfect descriptions causing me to go to the calendar immediately and start changing plans. Think of your friends down the street next time the thought to dine there crosses your mind, Heather!!

  3. Greg Quast says:

    I strongly suggest you return and review again. While the atmosphere is nice, the food leaves a lot to be desired. It is bland, poorly prepared, poorly presented and overpriced. I think you will find this jewel to be costume.

    • Heather Atwood says:

      Greg, I understood they were having issues in the kitchen, and was therefore light in this story on the quality of the food. I was at Feather and Wedge this weekend, and had a beautiful meal – half a perfectly crisped duck and a pristine presentation of local dab in burr blanc. I completely appreciate your comments here, as the food had really suffered earlier, but I think Feather & Wedge is trying hard; give them another chance?

Leave a Reply