Whether you want to be wowed with extravagance or are looking for a perfect plate of comfort food, here are the places giving us hope for the future. No one is going to look back on last year fondly, especially in the hard-hit restaurant industry. To be real with you, it’s why we never updated our 50 Best Restaurants list: Updating such a celebratory list — a ranked one at that — is fraught, to say the least. Yet even during a pandemic, we saw new life — a kind of experimentalism and entrepreneurship born of perseverance

Pete’s Place 
Peter Serpico is the kind of chef who spends days and days and days on a single dish. Obsessing over it. Fine-tuning it. Throwing it out and starting from scratch if it so requires — whatever it takes to get the dish exactly right. And he always, eventually, gets it exactly right. That was the secret to his success on South Street for all these years. When COVID forced Serpico (the restaurant) to close, he reactivated the space as Pete’s Place, a “kinda Korean” (his words) takeout operation that specializes in tsukemen-style kimchi noodles, spicy pickled pepper ramen, Korean fried chicken and the like. And though the food may be different, his dedication hasn’t wavered a bit. He’s still chasing perfection, even if it’s takeout.

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