Comfort: 200 W. Broad St., 780-0004, comfortrestaurant.com
Pasture: 416 E. Grace St., 780-0416, pasturerva.com
Second Place: Dale Reitzer (Acacia Mid-Town)
Third Place: Sean Murphy (Lady N'awlins and F.W. Sullivan's)
The affable Jason Alley long has been a Richmond favorite for giving us Comfort just as we began a citywide craving for food like Mom made; now he's upped the ante with Pasture near CenterStage. Small plates of fried chicken, pork belly and fried oysters prove that Alley knows what Richmonders like. As for Dale Reitzer, he's beloved for his daily commitment in his kitchen, reliably turning out inventive plates that have impressed many an out-of-town guest. Overheard from a couple of New Yorkers at Acacia recently, "I can't believe how cool the vibe is for Richmond." Or how good the food is. And for those who lump Sullivan's and Lady N'awlins in with "bar food" places, you need to stop by to see what Sean Murphy is doing with his Big Easy menu.