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Michelin Stars Out!!!

I was the first to tell Hiro-san at Urasawa-yesterday! He was thrilled!

Two-star restaurants
Mélisse, Santa Monica
Spago, Beverly Hills
Urasawa, Beverly Hills

One-star restaurants
Asanebo, Studio City
Cut, Beverly Hills
Joe's, Venice
La Botte, Santa Monica
Matsuhisa, Beverly Hills
Mori Sushi, West Los Angeles
Ortolan, Los Angeles
Patina, Los Angeles
Providence, Los Angeles
Ritz-Carlton Huntington Dining Room, Pasadena
Saddle Peak Lodge, Calabasas
Sona, West Hollywood
Trattoria Tre Venezie, Pasadena
Valentino, Santa Monica
Water Grill, Los Angeles

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  1. nice .. :/ wish i could be a regular at urasawa ... money not allowing me to. One question, i thought Urasawa is open on Sundays? but when I called they said they are not. Are the listings all wrong?

    1 Reply
    1. re: burumun

      I was at Urasawa today and Hiro-san did mention his 2 star michelin rating. He was very happy. He said that Masa also got 2 stars and he was happy about that. He joked that if he gets 3 and Masa gets 2, Masa will be very angry.

      Congrats.

      RVD.

    2. List makes sense except Providence should have received TWO Stars. Also La Cachette should be on the list with One Star.

      1. The exclusion of Lucques from that list pretty much invalidates it for me. Never mind that they're also based on one lunch and one dinner, too. Meanwhile, Joe's is better than Grace, AOC, Campanile, Angelini Osteria, Mozza, JAR, or Hatfield's? It would seem Michelin is just as inaccurate as Zagat, just in a more snooty and pretentious way.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Woolsey

          Woolsey I couldn't agree with you more. They a give a star to Saddle Peak and Joe's but not Lucques. Huh?

          1. re: dac_1971

            No professional food critic writes a review based on two meals, so why do the Michelin inspectors give out these highly influential stars based on that criteria? That's just silly. Anyway, I don't really think using European haute dining standards are really applicable to L.A. restaurants. Europeans - and New Yorkers and San Franciscans, to a large degree - tend to look for formality, theatricality, and precision in their high-end dining experiences, while Angelenos (and most Americans not in New York and San Francisco) largely want a more laid-back, unstructured, comfortable experience. I don't think Michelin inspectors trained to sniff around La Tour d'Argent are really equipped to comment on the best of the best in Los Angeles, no matter how much they dissect Angelenos' dining methods theoretically.

            To show how skewed these guidelines are, Joe's, Saddle Peak Lodge, and La Botte are so far out of the blue; even Ortolan, for how rigorously French and hoity-toity it is, in unlikely to come to most people's mind as one of the city's best restaurants. Yet Lucques has a double-James Beard Award-winning chef. Campanile has set trends for years and spun of its attached bakery into a nationally famous chain. Even people I know who never go to "fancy" restaurants still make pilgrimages to AOC a couple of times a year. Unless the book explains something like, "Suzanne Goin personally came out in spat in our short ribs," or "We went to Grace, and there was a cockroach under my quail," the L.A. Michelin Guide really can't be taken seriously.

            As far as this city's concerned, they should just stick to tires.

            1. re: Woolsey

              While not disagreeing with you, it's still nice to have the starred restaurants if people want them, and glad for Hiro-san. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. This is their take on the best--your personal take remains your own. Hell, I'd give Guelaguetza one star, and maybe In N Out Burger...

              1. re: Adsvino

                I'm not saying I'm upset by any INCLUSIONS as much as by EXCLUSIONS - or at least by certain one-star inclusions at the glaring exclusion of others.

                I can't help but wonder, though, if these controversies aren't generated by Michelin in part to help sell these guides...

                1. re: Woolsey

                  Well I guess all things in life are not fair. And frankly if we were all rating, it's likely we would also have varying opinions and experiences.

                  That said, I'm amazed that a restaurant as quality driven and as well focused as Providence did not receive at least 2 stars.

                  In my experience, Spago's service is less attentive and the atmosphere is not quite as warm and intimate as Providence.
                  The food is of course exquisite at both establishments, but I prefer the focus of the Providence menu.

                  Whatever the criteria for "starring" I firmly believe if Spago received 2, then Providence is deserving of the same.

                  1. re: lance25

                    Oh, definitely. Providence is widely considered the best restaurant in L.A. by many.

                    L.A. is a city of many amazing cuisines, yet the list consists of exactly three types of cooking: French/Continental, Italian, and Japanese. When it all boils down, Michelin Guides aren't objective surveys of the finest of all genres of cuisine and levels of restaurants. No, in the end, they're just books to tell rich Europeans where to get more glitzy French, Italian, and Japanese food.

                    1. re: Woolsey

                      I have been fortunate enough to dine at many of the lists' starred restaurants in L.A. and Northern California, including two of the three 2 star L.A. establishments, as well as French Laundry.

                      I have often found myself comparing the dinners to my first experience at Providence. I think my first meal there really set the bar for me.

                      The food was spot on that night and the wine pairings I felt, was my first experience with a perfectly paired wine and food menu. I didn't even do the FULL paired menu that night. Instead, I asked the sommelier (Drew?), to please pair a selection of wines per every couple or so courses. His choices were broad, creative and engaging. He poured a couple of half bottles, he split a couple of glasses and he was thoroughly engaged in our experience and interested in our preferences. Overall his hospitality was exemplary.

                      Where we needed more description on any of the food courses, the wait staff was willing, pleasantly well informed and unpretentious.

                      I was at French Laundry shortly after that first time at Providence. I think it was around the time that it was rumored Michelin had begun making their rounds in that "Hood". (Napa, San Francisco, etc.)

                      I took special note of the details of the restaurant, it's decor, the bathrooms, plates, silver, etc., All of it very impressive.

                      It struck me (us) as strange and disappointing however, that there was not an offered wine pairing for our menus that night. When we inquired about a paired menu, the sommelier was sort of matter of fact about it, and offered a couple of different $100 (+) bottles as a nice accompaniments to our tasting menus.

                      The overall experience just didn't feel so incredibly special. The hospitality was there, but it was really stiff, rehearsed, un -genuine, maybe even a little intimidating.

                      The food was superb but I felt (we felt) there was something missing. It seemed kind of uninspired. (But I know it isn't! )

                      I guess for me it really comes down to all the elements together that contribute to making a meal memorable. The food, the wine, the service, the hospitality, staff knowledge/understanding of the menu, the decor, the ambiance.

                      For me, as per the Michelin guide, Providence has at least "excellent cooking, worth a detour", perhaps even "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey"!!

                      Hats off to the folks Providence! They still get top billing in my book!

                      1. re: Woolsey

                        no survey is perfect by any means, but I must say, I am am a restaurant owner and know each of the restaurants both on and off the list that you mentioned and atleast as far as my piers are concerned it is pretty if not very good reflection of the LA food scene. Joe Miller many people think is one of the top chefs in town. especially industry people. For instance, while I am a fan of AOC, much less of Luques, despite the press, Suzanne is really a brasserie chef and will therefore not get a star. AOC is a tapas bar and also will never get a star. Right or wrong, my point is that the restaurant people feel this is a good list.

                        1. re: larud9233

                          Except for only One Star for Providence , right?

                          1. re: larud9233

                            The Spotted Pig (in NYC) is a pub and it has a star. Why couldn't a tapas bar get a star, too?

                            1. re: windsorknot

                              spotted pig is adventuresome food in a causal atmosphere, more in commion with Joe Miller. AOC is down tne center tapas. name something there that u haven't seen before. also, the menu is almost always the same.

            2. I was perusing the Red Book and was shocked to see Vong as a 1-star recipient. I had a 50 person birthday party here, and I found the food sub-par. Just because it's run by Jean Georges doesn't automatically make it Michelin calibre, people....

              ----------------------------
              Dru's NYC Eats
              http://dru.gobbl.com

              2 Replies
              1. re: druz99

                One star for providence is a horrible snub, but it gives Michael something to work towards. The sushi cuisine snub is completely unacceptable. How can Matsuhisa get a star but places in LA central area are completely missed?

                East Hollywood (shibucho), Jtown (Kappo Ishito), beverly hills (sushi dokoro ki ra la), West Hollywood (Nishimura), West LA (Sushi Zo), etc. ALL of these places deserve a star if others do.

                so what if LA has 15 japanese restos with one star? Fair is fair right!?!

                If Joes deserves a star, then so does Orris and possibly even Mako and Musha.

                The french are out of place here

                1. re: jlrobe

                  yeah definitely, Joe's is not bad but is not that great, IMO
                  and I'd take Providence over Spago