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Michelin Stars

In your opinion what two starred restaurant in NYC is the closest to gaining a third or what one starred deserves two?

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  1. I am curious if many New Yorkers care about Michelin stars with respect to local restaurants. In my own limited experience, Michelin is not viewed as highly relevant in the NYC restaurant scene.....again, curious if I am in the minority on this..I know I am not answering your question, so forgive the detour..

    4 Replies
    1. re: erica

      I don't care about the Michelin stars in France, and I think most New Yorkers find Michelin tone-deaf in evaluating U.S. restaurants. Michelin Guides measure *something*, but what that something is is so antithetical to what gives me (and most of my dining companions pleasure), that it is harder for me to treat it any more seriously than Zagat or the Mobil Guide. Well, maybe more than the Mobil Guide!

      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Michelin is more than tone deaf, they are deaf. Michelin used to mean quality, taste, creativity, skill, atmosphere, service and that extra "whatever" that makes it so special. Have you been to Brooklyn Fare?????? A blind Michelin judge might appreciate the atmosphere and service.
        As far as the OP's question, Jungsik deserves higher ratings , from everyone, including Michelin

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          Hey foodwhisper - I've read a lot of your posts and trust your judgement. I take it you didn't like Brooklyn Fare, or had a bad experience with service?

          I went last year and had a fantastic meal - up there with the best in NYC.

          1. re: deepfry7

            Don't know what foodwhisper's experience was, but for me, you can't exactly rate something "bad" vs good if it doesn't really exist. For me the best description of atmosphere/service at Brooklyn Fare is "lacking".

            You've commented on my most recent review of Brooklyn Fare: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884450 so I assume you know what I'm referring to, assuming you read the original post.

    2. This is hard to respond to because the Michelin stars in New York bear no relation to Michelin stars in Europe. Most of the NYC three stars would be low twos or even ones in most European cities. It's hard to even think about the lower ratings (especially some of the one stars, where they just seem to be choosing restaurants randomly).

      1. While most "foodie" New Yorkers, by and large, don't much care about Michelin, chefs and restaurateurs I've talked to have noted that it often influences European diners.

        There are many problems with Michelin in NYC - it's a playing favorites game, like any other. Certain restaurants wind up on the list year after year well past their prime because the "inspectors" have become regulars there, and probably don't even realize they're getting better treatment than other diners.

        So who knows which are close to gaining? It's not like, say the Times, where we can get a feel for Pete Wells' taste over time and make decent guesses. We can't know the mysterious inspectors personal tastes, or if there are new inspectors this year or if old ones have left. It's all personal opinion, after all. All we know is they're very Franco-centric.

        1. No matter what we may think of Michelin stars, chefs and restaurant owners in NYC take them very seriously since every additional star translates into a significant increase in business.

          I've read that David Chang was expecting (or hoping for) a third star for Momofuku Ko last year though the restaurant remained at two stars.

          1 Reply
          1. re: H Manning


            But that doesn't mean it's possible to predict what will come out of what is essentially a black box.

          2. Perhaps the OP would be satisfied with naming the one place that in your opinion deserves another star or is head and shoulders above the rest in its class

            21 Replies
            1. re: Ziggy41

              As far as I'm concerned, there isn't one that isn't at least a star too high already.

              1. re: Sneakeater

                Ouch! I'm ashamed to be a New Yorker ;)

                1. re: Ziggy41

                  You should be.

                  The last time I ate at Le Bernardin, a couple of weeks ago, they called me the day before and told me that we'd have to be out be a certain time so they could turn our table.

                  A Michelin three-star restaurant!

                  That would be unheard-of at any three-star in Europe. No place that does that could have three European stars.

                  (To be fair, since we all ordered their longest tasting menu, they let us stay longer than they said they would. But that was hardly a disinterested concession on their part.)

                  1. re: Sneakeater

                    How long was Le Bernardin limiting the duration of your meal?

                      1. re: Sneakeater

                        2 1/2 hours is definitely too short if you're having one of the Tasting Menus. I'm not a fan of any restaurant that specifically limits the duration of a meal. It's one thing if the restaurant paces the service, but it's not acceptable to me to be told that my table turns into a "pumpkin" at a specified time. Glad to hear that Le Bernardin didn't rush you for your tasting menu. How long did your tasting menu last?

                        1. re: ellenost

                          Maybe three and a quarter hours. Maybe a little more.

                          1. re: Sneakeater

                            Maybe Le Bernardin should stop telling their guests in advance of the time restriction since I would imagine many would select one of the tasting menus if they didn't feel that they would be rushed.

                    1. re: Sneakeater

                      One thing I noticed in France is that one table per couple/group for the night. I am sure not all of them operate this way, but it was delightful to relax and enjoy the meal withouth being rushed.

                      1. re: Sneakeater

                        Technically, stars have nothing whatsoever to do with service and are ONLY a judgement on the food, nothing else. So however they treated you on the phone, or even if they rushed you out, is irrelevant to Michelin.

                        1. re: sgordon

                          That's what they SAY. It hasn't been what they've DONE in their home country for decades.

                          1. re: Sneakeater

                            I mean, come on, s. If anyone took that "it's only what's on the plate" stuff seriously, we'd all be wondering why Sripraphai isn't a three-star candidate. But we all know it's not.

                            1. re: Sneakeater

                              Michelin is a bunch of nonsense, I think we both agree - myself because I find them too Europhiliac (more specifically Francophiliac) as one among many reasons. And Sneak... I suspect you dislike them because you're even more Europhiliac than they are... ;)

                                1. re: sgordon

                                  But surely at some level it's not nonsense to you, right? You were hoping for a second Michelin star for Aquavit.

                                  1. re: Riverman500

                                    I'm not "hoping" for anything. I don't own Aquavit.

                                    I do want restaurants I like to do well - so they stay in business so I can continue eating at them.

                                    Michelin is nonsense in the sense that I could care less what Michelin's opinion is in deciding where I use my dining dollars, because I have history of strong disagreement with them and find their biases a bit obvious and cliche. I don't find it informative to read, nor do I have any confidence their inspectors have terribly wide palates. Just because (we're supposed to believe) they all have degrees in hospitality management or something like that, we're to accept them as "experts" - for all we know it's written by a team of monkeys. Though frankly, I might trust a monkey more than someone with a BA in Hospitality.

                                    Michelin does matter, though, in that it greatly affects where European (especially French) tourists spend their money. Every restaurateur will tell you that - Europeans come in, Mich guide (or these days app) in hand.

                                    1. re: sgordon

                                      Yes, sgordon, my sentiment exactly. Since for whatever reason the "stars" mean something to some people and pretty much the industry in general, then I want to see the places I like be awarded accordingly. The NoMad recently got a star and I was happy for them because it is an acknowledgement but I didn't need a star to tell me that The NoMad is a fantastic place.

                                2. re: Sneakeater

                                  I think what everyone is saying is that the US guides and the European guides are very different. I don't think the star rankings are directly transferable, and I do think the US guides tend to be more "a judgement on the food, nothing else" than the European guides.

                                  One of the obvious differences between the US and the European food scene in general is hotel restaurants. Many European 2-3 starred restaurants are hotel restaurants. When you conjure up an image of a hotel restaurant in the US, it's usually not a pretty sight. I don't think they follow "it's only what's on the plate" here religiously, but I guess they do make an allowance for the fact that the hotel and hotel restaurant scene is different here. Remember, the Michelin red guide has always been both a hotel and restaurant guide.

                                  Going back to OP, I would say that Ko is very close to that NYC third star. "Exceptional Cuisine, worth a special journey." Would you schedule a trip just because you got a Ko reservation? I could see that. I wouldn't fly in, but if I was a state or two's drive away, sure.

                                  I think that depending on what they do in the new place, Kajitsu could regain its second star. I haven't been in over a year, but the cuisine is unique and special enough to be worth a detour.

                                  1. re: fooder

                                    Except there are restaurants in hotels in New York that are quite respectable, indeed. Ai Fiori and Jean Georges come to mind, and of course NoMad comes in for a lot of love here (I've only had cocktails there so far but liked them).

                                    1. re: Pan

                                      Right, and JG has had 3 stars since inception of the NY guide while both Ai Fiori and NoMad are fairly new restaurants. Let's not forget that SHO had 2 stars as well. So it appears the inspectors still prefer the luxe hotel experience, but know that they are still few and far between in NYC

                            2. re: Sneakeater

                              That's deplorable! I probably would have cancelled my reservation, under such circumstances.

                      2. To answer the actual question that started the thread... based on my dining experience, I had tremendous meals at Soto and Corton in the past ~6 months, and I would consider those two-star places to be strong candidates for 3 stars.

                        As far as one star places, I haven't been to all of them (been to a lot though), and I don't consider *any* of them to be 2-star worthy. The closest might be The Modern.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: deprofundis

                          While I'm rewriting the Michelin guide (this is fun), I'd promote the above two places to 3 stars and dock a star each off Daniel, EMP, and Per Se.

                        2. I'll also add that I think Ko is just as overrated as all the other David Chang places, and to me seems more like a high-performing 1-star place than an actual 2-star place.

                          1. You're a good sport, Dan -asking a sincere question and the heavens part on the only corner of your property that's already waterlogged.
                            And I'm going to act likewise, but in good faith: recommending an old, but not irrelevant, colour piece in the New Yorker by my friend John Colapinto, who goes to Jean-Georges for lunch with a Michelin critic, and reports on how she approaches her work:

                            EDIT: I can still read this article from the archive as a subscriber; YMMV.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Phil Ogelos

                              Thanks for that link, went through just fine. Although I keep up with NY restaurants from San Francisco, I wasn't aware of the Michelin ratings the way I am aware of the NY Times, New York Magazine and Zagat ratings. It does sound as if MG is not only Francocentric, but favors complexity for its own sake, while my tastes run to making great ingredients simply themselves. Have eaten in some top-ranked places visiting---the food was fine, but far too fussed-over for my preference. P.S. Mentioned this before, but Hounds may enjoy any of Michael Bond's Monsieur Pamplemousse books, about a Michelin-type inspecteur who is also a former police inspector. Humor is subjective, but I think they are hilarious.

                              1. re: mwhitmore

                                There will never be such a thing as a definitive guide or ratings system that everybody agrees with. Michelin is as good as any of them (better than most though, imho), Also note that there is a high degree of correlation between the Michelin and NY Times ratings.

                            2. I am aware I opened a can of words with this thread. I more or less was just curious about New Yorkers' opinions on the Michelin Starred restaurants. I've only been to 1 starred places thus far and although I know how much the likes of EMP and Per Se are touted on this board, I was just curious if the few others are still considered on that level or if some newer restaurants are being overlooked. I wasn't sure how to phrase it, so I put it into those questions. I don't mind the dialog it opened and have enjoyed reading the opinions. So, by all means keep it going...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Dan269605

                                To answer your original post, I think both Bouley and Jungsik deserve a second Michelin star.

                                1. re: ellenost

                                  If personal experience in the comparative restaurants is used as a level set then absolutely Bouley deserves two stars.

                              2. To their credit, their 648-page guidebook gives a better sense of what else is out there versus the star rankings. If only the writing didn't feel so annoying to read.