Counter, SalemStandout Qualities: Chef Justin Perdue takes inspiration from the counter restaurants of old, including their desserts. Like the main courses, Perdue aims for the desserts to have a balance of flavors, not just sweetness, so he incorporates some vinegar to achieve his magic. The end results are exquisite plates that round out any meal.
What’s New: Counter’s pie menu has just come out, featuring two daily pies that change often.
Insider Tip: Desserts focus on citrus in the wintertime. When snow returns, get the grapefruit tart, a sophisticated grown-up construction of shortbread crust filled with ginger cream and topped with slices of fresh pink grapefruit, served alongside a scoop of bright basil ice cream.
209 Essex St., Salem, 978-451-4818, countersalem.com
Buttermilk Baking Company, NewburyportStandout Qualities: Scones, tarts, and cookies are perfectly baked and often incorporate something savory—bacon’s a favorite—in addition to the sweet.
9 Liberty St., Newburyport 978-499-8278, buttermilkbaking.com