233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue
This may be the ultimate neighborhood restaurant: The downstairs wall is stenciled with the names of friends who donated small amounts of money ($5 to $25) to aid in Hungry Mother's pre-opening renovation. The result is something they can be proud of: a tidy two-story space with whitewashed brick walls hung with mismatched vintage pictures and tables set with both wineglasses and mason jars. The bathrooms, papered with pages torn from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, pay cheeky homage to Cambridge hero Julia Child. Chef Barry Maiden is a Virginia native, and it showsregional favorites like Benton's country ham and Virginia peanuts feature prominently. Lush shrimp and grits are topped with buttery corn bread croutons, and fat, juicy fried oysters come nestled in a sprightly kohlrabi slaw. Odds are, Julia would approve.
Tip: The smooth No. 43 cocktail is a blend of Old Overholt rye, aged port, and maple syrup (entrées, $18$27).