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Oct 2, 2006 02:42 PM

Michelin Unveils San Francisco Ratings Today

The results will be posted here in this thread after 10:00 AM PDT.
It will be interesting to see who ends up getting the coveted stars.

Bauer's "four star" choices were listed as possible contenders in this SF Biz Journal article:
Chez Panisse
Fleur de Lys
French Laundry
La Folie
the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton

It will also be intruging to find out how close the local critic's predictions come to the actual results. I'm most curious to see how SF stacks up to NYC, as the NYC 2007 results will be out a week later.

Stay posted!

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    1. Here are the official results from the press release:

      3 STARS
      - The French Laundry

      2 STARS
      - Aqua
      - Cyrus
      - Manresa
      - Michael Mina

      1 STAR
      - Gary Danko
      - Fleur de Lys
      - Rubicon
      - Bushi-Tei
      - Quince
      - Range
      - Acquerello
      - La Folie
      - Masa’s
      - Ritz-Carlton Dining Room
      - Boulevard
      - Fifth Floor
      - Chez Panisse
      - Sushi-Ran
      - Chez TJ
      - Auberge du Soleil
      - Bistro Jeanty
      - Bouchon
      - La Toque
      - Terra
      - Dry Creek Kitchen
      - Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
      - K & L Bistro - Sebastopol

      For more info, see the official release here:

      23 Replies
      1. re: foodiegrl

        Presentation, service, and decor obviously count more than food. Not that any of those places have bad food.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          You're definitely on to something there. That would explain Mina, for sure.

          1. re: foodiegrl

            Doesn't explain why Range and Dining Room are in the same category. And honestly, the food and service at Micheal Mina did not strike me as twice as good as The Dining Room. They are equivalent dining establishments in my mind. Make them both 2-stars or both 1-star.

            I agree though, that if Daniel and Bouley in NYC are only 2 stars, then it would be hard to justify making Mina or The Dining Room anything more than 2.

            1. re: Porthos

              I think one flub in excecution of a single dish might be enough to deny a restaurant a star.

              1. re: Porthos

                As for ranking restaurants of the caliber of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton the same as Bistro Jeanty, Michelin's director said, "When you go to Bistro Jeanty, it's very nice and rustic and basic, and you have incredible food there at a good price. When you go to the Ritz-Carlton, you expect to get very good food, so if you get exceptional cuisine, then you get more than one star. A star means a good restaurant in its own category."

                1. re: Porthos

                  In the Michelin universe, wo stars doesn't mean twice as good as a one star. One star = good restaurant in its category, which can vary in price range and range level of comforts. Two star = good enogh to be worth a detour; in practice, they tend to be pretty luxurious places. Three stars = worth a trip on it's own -- at this level the quality of the china and silverware and all details become important.

                  1. re: limster

                    That does make a little more sense, but I still don't consider Mina or Aqua to be superior to The Dining Room. In fact, the menu at Aqua looks stale compared to The Dining Room.

                    For me, Mina and The Dining Room are about on par...both probably a notch below Daniel and Bouley.

            2. re: foodiegrl

              Anyone who ranks Aqua above Chez Panisse obviously favors form over substance.

                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                  I expect that it would be difficult to earn 2 stars without preparing a full menu on a nightly basis. There is a difference between doing very few things perfectly on any given night and having a kitchen prepared to deliver a wider variety every night of the week.

                  1. re: Chris Rising

                    Alice Waters said long ago that her model was comfortable, family-run establishments in France and not starred restaurants. So, maybe she got her wish?

                    The surprises to me are that K&L Bistro, Bistro Jeanty and Bouchon rec'd a star. I've eaten at over a dozen Michelin one-stars in France (and a couple places that had a star and lost it) and they're not at that level from a service, comfort or food perspective. Farmhouse Inn is much like what I consider a one-star. That rating level seems to have the greatest variance of the group.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      On a related note, I think the largest variance in terms of service or food (and overall luxury) lies in the one star places, at least the ones I've been to in France. A few were lovely family-run establishment that were perhaps one step above a bistro, while others seem to be more upscale, with the corresponding variation in prices.

                2. re: foodiegrl

                  Yea! I've dined at a Michelin 3-star restaurant! :) Plus 3 of the 4 2-stars and 6 of the 1-stars...

                  1. re: foodiegrl

                    They are idiots, know nothing about Bay Area food obviously and this book would be a waste of money. Any book that would lump in Chez Panisse and the Ritz with Range and Quince have no clue and I don't care what their criteria is. It is stupid and makes me doubt any of their books now.

                    And two stars to Aqua ... come on. If ever there was a one or no star restaurant. I'm no fan of Boulevard but there is not one thing that Aqua does that distinguishes itself where it would have one more star than Boulevard ... and I really don't care to read what they have to say. They are wrong. Flat out.

                    The only good is that it will direct the 'tourists' that don't really care about food to places where they can eat stars instead of good food.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Aqua has a French chef. Boulevard doesn't.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Oh my! Look in the mirror. You may see a cynic. Would the French sell out?

                    2. re: foodiegrl

                      It was a given that the French Laundry would get three stars, given than Per Se did in the New York book. I am suprised about Aqua getting two stars, and Chez Panisse only getting one. I would have expected Chez Panisse to get two, and the Cafe to get one. I figured that the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton had a good chance to get two stars as well.

                      Among the one star restaurants, Range is a bit of surprise, especially since Delfina, A16 and Incanto got no stars. The Japanese restaurants are an odd choice, but Michelin has always been extremely unreliable when it comes to non European food (the only possible exceptions are North African in Paris and Indian in London). Both the London and New York Nobu have a star, as does Vong in New York.

                      1. re: Malik

                        yes, I did Range get into the mix? it's like someone said oh yes go here it's hip or's just inconsistent.

                        1. re: ciaogina

                          It's the SF version of the Spotted Pig.

                          1. re: foodiegrl

                            Have you been to the Spotted Pig? Range is not a gastropub. Thats just silly talk.

                            1. re: Chris Rising

                              I didn't mean to liken Range to a gastro-pub. Just that they seemed to pick one outlier that was in a more casual vein from each city.

                      2. re: foodiegrl

                        Happy to see that a Sebastopol spot got a wasn't around when I lived near there. I will certainly try it next time I travel to Sonoma County.

                      3. So who are the big omissions? let the debate begin...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: chowaddict

                          I don't see much point in debating since the list is so biased toward certain styles and food. It's a very narrowminded, boring, and safe selection.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            According to Michelin, the stars are all about the food.
                            The "Couvert" symbols (the crossed fork & spoon) denote the comfort & service quality of the restaurant. I'd be most interested in the "Bib Gourmand" or red couvert recipients, but we'll have to wait for the book to see those.

                            See their quote from the guide below:
                            "We select restaurants on the quality of their cuisine first and foremost, but the welcome, service and comfort are also taken into account.

                            Stars awarded for cuisine are for the meal served, and are only judged on the food. Our criteria are : the quality of the ingredients and their preparation, the combination of
                            flavours, innovation, style and most importantly, a consistent high standard of all these

                            The couvert symbols denote the level of comfort in the restaurant (the quality of the cover, crockery and cutlery, the size of the dining area, the number of staff and the quality of service they provide).

                            Red couvert symbols indicate a particularly pleasant or characterful restaurant or an especially charming or peaceful location.

                            As for the cuisine itself, the Bib Gourmand indicates good cooking, sometimes using local specialities and produce, for a fixed price (no more than £25 for a 3 course meal)"

                          2. re: chowaddict

                            When only one restaurant earns three stars, you'd have to say there are many many omissions. Too many to even talk about. I agree with the premise that the Michelin reviews probably place a heavier weight on service and even the quality of the white linen before considering the food technique.

                            1. re: singleguychef

                              The stars are supposed to be all about the food, nothing else. The linen, service & atmosphere are all covered with a different rating system.

                              1. re: foodiegrl

                                > The stars are supposed to be all about the food, nothing else.

                                Just because they say that doesn't mean they can't be influenced by the other factors, from a well paired wine to a perfect ambience. Or the opposites.

                                I think it's a bit difficult to compare any restaurant which serves a tasting menu with one where you need to commit to a starter, main, and dessert. It's easier to forgive one boring or ill-conceived course out of nine than out of three, as well as to maintain excitement with the food. Perhaps they factor this in... one would hope...

                          3. Robert, if presentation, service, and decor counted for more than food, Manresa would never be at two stars. Michelin says food is what matters for stars, and I believe them. But clearly the fanciness of the food is important, which I guess does include presentation. That's been my experience in Europe. A lot of the meals we've enjoyed most there have been in Michelin-listed places with no stars.

                            I thought the Ritz would get 2 stars and I'm surprised that Aqua got 2 stars (though I haven't been there in ages). But otherwise I don't see any surprises. I see Chez TJ got a star so I guess the hype about the new chef has some substance, so I need to check that out.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mdg

                              Maybe presentation, service, and decor aren't supposed to affect the star ratings, but it's obvious from the list that they do.

                            2. while the forks may be more interesting to "chowhound type" readers, I think it is fair to say the stars get all the glory and press.

                              There are some very big names not getting any stars. I think its fun and fair to debate whether places deserved stars, didnt deserve stars, etc.

                              Some of the big names left off (not saying they deserved a star, but throwing some names out there) - oliveto, jardinere, ame, myth, coi, a16, delfina, zuni, bix, aziza, foreign cinema, incanto, slanted door

                              anyone surprised by some of these?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: chowaddict

                                I'm not surprised at all. That's typical Michelin. Limited selection, heavy on the French.

                                Coi's their kind of place but probably too new.

                                I was confused about the forks, it's actually the opposite. Stars are supposed to be food, forks are comfort.

                                1. re: chowaddict

                                  I think Ame was too new during the evaluation period. Terra recieved a star, so Ame would be an obvious choice for at least 1 star.

                                  Incanto & Myth get my vote for "bridesmaids" of this year.

                                  1. re: chowaddict

                                    Oliveto's the biggest omission, but it's no surprise. They're prejudiced against Italian food and less formal service.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      You said it. A16, Oliveto, Incanto all got the shaft. This seems to be a replay of the slight Batali received in NYC last year.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Or you are biased favorably towards Italian food, and against French food...

                                        1. re: cedichou

                                          I love French food. I'd eat it more often if there were French restaurants of the quality of Olveto and Pizzaiolo in the East Bay. Luka's and Oola are pretty Frenchy and I eat at them frequently. I'd eat at La Folie regularly if I could afford it.

                                          I'd recognize the Michelin bias even I shared it, just as I recognize the laughably anti-French bias of my Italian friends whose taste is otherwise similar to mine.