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Apr 13, 2011 07:17 PM

the value of Michelin Guide

i can't fathom how EMP and Breslin are ranked the same. while i have enjoyed meals at both restaurants, i fail to see how they can share the same rating. while EMP goes out of its way to provide exceptional service, Breslin greets their guests with complete nonchalance. the food at EMP is in another league altogether. so, what are these stars based on?

The Breslin
20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

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  1. it has value as a paper weight...or as a weapon to kill spiders...or maybe to burn for fuel...

    the Pellegrino Top 50 list is another exercise in stupidity...(Momofuku Saam in the top 50 in the *world*???...lmao)...

    ignore these guides and leave the discerning to the chowhounds :)

    10 Replies
    1. re: Simon

      Agreed. Michelin in Europe is useful when comparing European restaurants only to other European restaurants, but the NY Michelin guide is a bad joke.

      1. re: gutsofsteel

        Personally, I don't believe that you can use the book in Europe either. The culinary world in Denmark is presently shocked that Noma didn´t recieve its third star this year. Michelin even proclaimed, that Noma knew that they had very far to go before they would recieve a third star. Arguably the most influential restaurant in the world for a few years now and only 2 stars? Generally, Michelin are very timid when it comes to awarding stars to restaurants outside countries like France, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy. I've had meals at two and three star restaurants in France and Italy that was so far from the level seen at Noma and other Danish restaurants. Granted, I am Danish, but the difference in quality and skill would be obvious to anyone other than the Michelin guide. Furthermore, a few months ago the Danish chef Rasmus Kofoed won the Bocuse D'or (which he should have won on two earlier occasions), the world cup for chefs if you will, and Michelin did not award him a single star for his restaurant Geranium. Geranium is, arguably, the most complete meal and dinner experience in northern europe presently but only worth a "rising star" according to Michelin. Go figure!

      2. re: Simon

        never have given such guides much mind until now that i'm looking for a place to host a wedding reception. i was shocked at what i saw when looking at Michelin in NY.

        1. re: coasts

          host the reception at Keens!...great private rooms...great food and vibe...

          72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

          1. re: Simon

            we were just there for St. Patrick's and i'm not sure it's the vibe we're looking for. going to Daniel tomorrow to check it out. EMP would have been perfect, but the room is really just too small for our small party of 60.

            1. re: coasts

              We did a private function in Daniel's Bellecour Room a few years ago. They did a very good.


              1. re: coasts

                I have been to a wedding reception at Daniel. It was pretty freaking amazing. If you are looking for that level of ambiance and food, there is nowhere else that's gonna be better. Unless you can rent out EMP's main dining room, but not sure if it can hold 60 comfortably in a wedding reception setting. Of course I'm talking about restaurants only.

                1. re: uwsister

                  Was the wedding reception you attended at Daniel in the main dining room?

                  EMP's entire dining room can easily accommodate 60 with, if one wishes, plenty of room for a band and dancing.


                  1. re: RGR

                    Yes, it was in the main dining room - the couple had a lot more guests than 60 though, at least 100, if not more.

          2. re: Simon

            Top 50 is voted on by a group of chef and restaurateur advisers. I wonder how much politicking is involved in placing on this list. I probably view Michelin as more reliable in that the reviewers are not restaurant peers but then only within the same city.

          3. Great timing; I was JUST wondering the same thing myself. I went to Laut last night out of curiosity, and can't fathom how this place garnered the same 1 star as EMP.

            The food at Laut was tasty, and I will certainly return to try more menu items. But I have had hundreds of meals in New York that were just as good... what made this place different?

            I would love it if anyone had some insight into this topic.

            On a side note, I have a reservation to Dovetail (another 1 starred restaurant) for brunch this weekend. In the light of the wild variation within these ratings, absolutely unsure on what to expect now.

            15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

            4 Replies
            1. re: sasamii

              I think the NY Michelin is worse than useless. I doubt anyone can figure out how they reach some of their star conclusions.

              Gilt is a 2-star, and the dinner we've had at Dovetail (as you point out, a 1-star) was far superior to the dinner we had at Gilt, which I wouldn't have awarded any stars. It wasn't that Gilt's food was bad -- well, one of the desserts was pretty awful -- just not, imo, star-worthy. With regard to Dovetail, there were four of us, and we all agreed that every dish was excellent and 1-star worthy. That said, not having had brunch there, I can't say what that will be like.

              I should add that despite Dovetail's excellence, the food doesn't come close to the high level at EMP.

              Dovetail photos:


              103 West 77th Street, New York, NY 10024

              455 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022

              1. re: RGR

                Just seems the biggest arguments are when a two (or higher) star restaurant gets one star, like with EMP. Or when a probably one star restaurant gets two stars, like Gilt. It calls into questions the other deserved one or two star restaurants. But stressing on the few errors ignores the fact that most of the other one stars or two stars restaurants more or less fit in their respective rankings.

                1. re: villainx

                  "But stressing on the few errors ignores the fact that most of the other one stars or two stars restaurants more or less fit in their respective rankings."

                  Agreed, though Michelin does seem to favor high end French and asian-influenced establishments, and neglect those whose focus is more rustic, or traditional comfort food (e.g. Chez Panisse, Babbo, and Craft don't have any stars).

                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

              2. re: sasamii

                the Laut situation is something that happens frequently when upscale-oriented publications review Asian restaurants...the reviewer often has very limited experience with Asian food, so when he/she goes to a restaurant and tries (for the first time) some kind of SE Asian curry or Cantonese casserole or Japanese homestyle food (etc), it's a revelation to them...and rather than realize that there is a whole hemisphere of flavors they've been missing all these years and that there are tens of thousands of restaurants (and street food stands) that make that same dish better, instead the reviewer overzealously heaps praise on the specific restaurant, as if he/she thinks that Laut somehow invented all those Malaysian flavors, etc...the NY Times has been as guilty of this as anyone in the past, although it's gotten a bit better recently...but when self-important publications like Michelin do it, it's all the more comic/pathetic...

                15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

              3. No one has pointed out one of the most important things about the Michelin Guide: stars are given based solely on food, not decor, service or ambiance.

                Anyway, I think we all agree that EMP is terribly underrated by Michelin, but in general, I enjoy flipping through the guide—there are many more restaurants in there that are not starred, but rather Michelin-recommended. I've tried some places I otherwise wouldn't have thought to go to.

                2 Replies
                1. re: loratliff

                  Thank you for mentioning this, as I was unaware that stars were given solely on food.

                  1. re: coasts

                    So they claim. They also say, "in its category." That's how EMP and the Spotted Pig can both end up with one star despite the food being at such totally different levels.


                2. I've no complaint with Michelin. I don't expect it to be perfect, and I'm just assuming whatever mistakes in star award that were made, can be corrected.

                  Well, I guess I do have a complaint where the food and service and room should be consistent within each star categories, but if it's a matter of one star vs two star vs three star, or no stars versus stars, I don't think the former is too big of a deal, while the latter a legit star worthy restaurant getting none would seem odd.

                  I'm not sure what happened with EMP which most consider a true top tier restaurant, but last year was a transition year for them, and erring on the side of caution or allowing EMP to run for awhile doesn't seem horrible.

                  1. The Michelin guide is as useless as a third nipple