We waited more than two long years after Mary Dumont's departure from Harvest to see what the acclaimed chef would produce for her first self-owned venture. It took a while to bloom, but Cultivar was a clear winner as soon as it sprouted inside the Ames Boston Hotel, where it offers "modern American garden cuisine" made with seasonal, responsibly sourced ingredients. Dumont plucks many of them from her Groton home garden and from on-site Freight Farms: shipping containers repurposed as hydroponic gardens to grow everything from radish to kohlrabi to tomatoes, year-round. Toss in a refreshing gin-focused cocktail program and some of the most gorgeous plate presentations in town, and it's a real garden of Downtown delights.
Must-order: Among the inventive (and beautiful) dishes is an elegant snail toast (pictured) with country ham, green chickpeas, garlic and Pernod.