LA Michelin Starred Restaurants ('09 Guide) just released ...
Listed Below (3 rosettes, 2 rosettes,1 rosette ... I left off Bib Gourmand and other notable restaurants)
* * *
Dining Room at Langham
Trattoria Tre Venezie
You won't find Michelin L.A. in my library... I don't trust Michelin when it comes to L.A. They don't understand the diverse little gems in L.A., in my opinion.
Maybe it's 'cuz my focus is not as much on decor (as long as it's not filthy, I'm down), but rather on whether or not the FOOD is any good.
The Wikipedia entry on "Michelin Guide" is a good starting-point for understanding the Michelin system (but follow some of the links). I've read newspaper and magazine articles in the distant past in which the inspectors came across as very ordinary, ignorant, and uninspired critics, albeit valuable contacts if you have a flat tire or tyre.
In France, England, Italy, and elsewhere on the Continent, I've never been unhappy with a two- or three-star restaurant. Here, it's another thing. I disagree with many of the Los Angeles and, especially, San Francisco rankings. Cut Cut, and raise Valentino and the Dining Room at the Langham, for example. I wouldn't give a star to the Water Grill when neither the Stonehill Tavern in OC nor Downey's in Santa Barbara is anywhere on the list. Up north they give one star to the Village Pub in Woodside (a decent place) but nothing to the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco (a tremendous place)? And that same single star to Chez Panisse? They should have awarded Alice Waters two stars at least and begged our forgiveness for not understanding the American approach to fine eating.
And that may well be the problem outside the friendly confines of Europa: they don't get it. I see much evidence (but not in every case) that they march to the beat of the loudest drums.
I would really like to hear from a Tokyo-knowledgeable 'hound on the quality of the ratings over there.
I'm actually pretty surprised. Usually a Michelin star indicates not just excellent food (which Zo certainly has) but also excellent service, nice decor, and excellent all-around experience (which Zo may or may not have, depending on who you ask). While many of us on the L.A. board have received consistently excellent service at Zo, many others (myself included) have complained of poor treatment there. And the strip mall location and decor certainly lack allure. So I'm not saying that Zo doesn't deserve it's star--based on food alone, it does--I'm merely expressing surprise that someplace with a lackluster atmosphere and controversially inconsistent service got a star.
Actually, I'm wrong--they don't take service or other factors into account, just the food. Here's the criteria, from the Michelin website (for justeat and others who were wondering):
The Michelin Guide uses a system of symbols to identify the best hotels and restaurants within each comfort and price category. For restaurants, Michelin stars are based on five criteria:
* The quality of the products
* The mastery of flavor and cooking
* The "personality" of the cuisine
* The value for the money
* The consistency between visits
Michelin stars are awarded to restaurants offering the finest cooking, regardless of cuisine style. Stars represent only what is on the plate. They do not take into consideration interior decoration, service quality or table settings.