Michelin Guide to San Francisco, 2010
The French Laundry
The Restaurant at Meadowood
Auberge du Soleil
The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton
El Paseo (closed)
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
Fleur de Lys
The Village Pub
Changes: Michael Mina lost a star, and Aqua lost its two and Bistro Jeanty and Martini House each lost their only star; Aziza, Commis, Etoile, La Toque, Luce, Quince, Sante, Solbar, Terra and Ubuntu now each have a star.
Thoughts on the list?
Ubuntu and Aziza are two of the best dinners I've had in their year. I think their additions are especially significant not just because the restaurants deserve to be there, but it also defrays part of the criticism that the Michelin guide is biased toward French restaurants and "doesn't get" California.
The list is still biased. The three starred Italian restaurants are the Frenchiest in the area, and French restaurants don't have to have as high a level of service to make the cut.
Ubuntu has a strong French influence, e.g. gargouillou, vadouvan, bordelaise sauce, the hyper-complex cauliflower dish, presenting the same ingredient two or three ways.
David Chang doesn't get California, either. "I will call bullsh-- on San Francisco ... There's only a handful of restaurants that are manipulating food ... f---ing every restaurant in San Francisco is serving figs on a plate with nothing on it."
Both Chang and the Michelin reviewers require cooking before a place qualifies as a first-rate restaurant. Perhaps folks will recall the dust-up about Zuni last year when they served a whole nectarine on a bare plate save for a knife for dessert.
re: Paul H
No. I have no problem with a perfectly ripe top-quality nectarine on a plate as is for up to $4 ... which IIRC, was the actual price. It was the fact that the nectarine was originally reported as costing $8 that was the problem. At that price point it needs a little something more ... even a sprig of parsley for irony.
It was the high $8 price for that naked nectarine that started the outrage.
re: Paul H
There was a minor bruhaha with David Chang. He made a comment like "every restaurant in California has figs on the menu" and other stuff. He was suppose to speak at the Asia Society about his new book but it was canceled because of his comments.
The whole anti-California East Coast thing is some kind of weird, angry, uptight trip. Anthony Bourdain is of the same ilk. There's plenty of bad East Coast culinary things, like produce and local wines but no one in California bothers to say anything because it's pointless.
I loved that. Totally emblematic of what East Coasters don't get. Some types of fruit, if ripe and grown correctly, have more complex and rewarding flavors when raw. If the fruit isn't of such high quality, it is improved by cooking and other kitchen intervention on the part of the chef.
That said, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a perfect fig cut in half, with the cut side caramelized and the rest of it pretty much raw on a cheese plate with good blue cheese. It'd probably be pretty tasty, and more texturally interesting.
Why not just go to the farmer's market, pick out a really nice piece of fruit, sit outside on a nice tarp and eat it while watching the sunset? Why go to the trouble of eating it at a restaurant (with a knife and fork no less) and get charged so much money? It's not that hard to pick really nice fruit
It's not like anybody's going to Zuni and ordering just a piece of fruit.
After two hours and change at the table, three or four courses, and lots of wine, a simple piece of fruit is often exactly what I want for dessert. People who would prefer some rich sugar bomb have no reason to complain about Zuni giving me what I want.
re: Robert Lauriston
"People who would prefer some rich sugar bomb have no reason to complain about Zuni giving me what I want." Especially so considering the fact that Zuni always has a very well made molten chocolate cake for just such people, as well as a few other more complicated, rich, and expensive desserts. I really appreciate the variety, from cheap, light ,and cold sorbets or granitas to expensive, heavy, warm concoctions.
Here are the changes from the 2009 list, including changes in their "bib gourmand" list:
From the list of stars, the changes are:
* Bistro Jeanty
* Martini House
** Michael Mina
* El Paseo (closed)
* La Toque
Not gone from the list, but gone from the earth:
The "Bib gourmand" list of restaurants that are "an inspector's favorite for good value." And the changes there are:
South Park Cafe
Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar
Brown Sugar Kitchen
Flour + Water
Tavern at Lark Creek
The girl & the fig
Well, though I don't use Michelin for ecs, I'm glad The girl and the fig is on there. There's been lots of people putting it down both on Chowhound and Yelp. IMO, it hasn't changed and is a nice option in Sonoma.
Colibri is both dropped and added?
These people seem to be Bradley Ogden groupies ... Thavern at Lark Creek?
Henry's Hunan ... really? I'm telling you if House of Nanking shows up I'm going to have to burn that guide in publc.
It is a little weird this year all the relatively new restaurants on that list.
It's particularly interesting that Michelin Guide is responsive to customer input. I sent them a couple of e-mails urging them to review Restaurant Chevalier in Lafayette. They originally replied that Lafayette is outside the area they cover (in prior years they included only the Oakland/Berkeley portion of the East Bay), but It turns out they did review it, since Chevalier is now on the Bib Gourmand list, and is the only restaurant east of the Caldecott Tunnel to be mentioned in the Guide.
re: Ruth Lafler
re: Ruth Lafler
re: Ruth Lafler
The Commis star surprised and delighted me, delighted because I loved my visit to the restaurant, and shocked that Michelin made it to Oakland. Well, and it's only been open, what, three months, so I'm kind of amazed that Michelin managed to visit in time for the book. I don't make decisions about where to go based on Michelin, but it's clear that some people do, or will at least be more likely to go to starred places, so I'm happy that Commis got one.
Yeah the only thing that surprised me bout the Commis star, is that the restaurant is just so new, and I really didn't think they would have enough time to review, write-up and still make the publishing deadline. I've never eaten there, but a few friends that have, have raved about it.
About time for Ubuntu, they definitely deserve it. Not sure how I feel about Martini House losing their star, kind of expected it, but still a bit surprised. Also, Terra already had a star, but the OP indicates that it's new.
I wonder if SF will ever get a second three star restaurant.
I honestly don't think any high end place in SF proper is consistent enough to merit 3 stars. Between my partner and I, we've had experiences at a dozen of the one stars that alone would preclude them from more stars. We had a 2-3 star experience at Fleur de Lys, but that doesn't seem to be the average experience of people who report back. I would have thought Quince would be a solid 2-star, but whatever.
I think whatever is the operative word. I like Manresa much more the TFL, find the food much more inspiring and unique yet it only gets 2-stars which I take is the service model. As a Californian I actually find the full French service model a bit stuffy and it can get overbearing. As you said...whatever.