Grilled food is good food, and chef Daniel Gursha knows just how to manage the wood-fired behemoth in the kitchen for maximum deliciousness. Thick slabs of meat, of course, but also everything from Brussels sprouts to carrots get flame-kissed, giving a new complexity to every dish. Even the bread and butter are delicious—and the bread is made in-house. But the icing on the cake (pun intended) is the pastry team’s magical way of elevating childhood treats into something familiar yet new—think house-made ice cream infused with Ritz crackers or blood orange vanilla cheesecake that evokes the Creamsicle of your youth.
125 Washington St., Salem, 978-594-1908, ledgersalem.com
Red’s Kitchen + Tavern
From breakfast to dinner, Red’s has comfort food covered. Eggs, pancakes, burgers, pasta—it’s all here, and especially nice if you can snag a booth.
131 Newbury St. (Rte. 1 N), Peabody, 978-531-7337, redskitchenandtavern.com