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Why does this list of Michelin star restaurants almost never got mentioned or discussed on this board??

During my current planning process for my next chow-visit to your great city, I happened to notice this interesting anomaly!!

When the topics of recommending great and relatively fine dining places to fellow chowhounders came up, the 'USUAL' list ALMOST ALWAYS got menrtioned. This would include your EMP, Per Se, Jean George, Daniel, Marea, Corton, Bouley, Atera, the Modern, WD-50...etc

To my recollection, however, I have never or seldom seen the names of the following being mentioned, let alone their food discussed by chowhounders??!! They include but not limit to:
Gilt, SHO Shaun Hergatt, Adour, Brushstroke, Dovetail, Dressler, Heartbreak, River Cafe, Rouge Tomate, Saul, Seasonal...to name a few.
Why are these bunch of Michelin star restaurants less popular? Are they overrated, inconsistent, nothing special.....???
I would love to give some of them a try during my next trip, but due to their lack of coverage, I am skeptical about spending my valuable time and money on these relatively 'obscure' and seldom talk about establishments!
Please kindly enlighten me!! Thanks!

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  1. Gilt, SHO, Adour, and Heartbreak have closed. River Cafe has been closed since Hurricane Sandy though I believe the Terrace Room is now available for bookings.

    As for Brushstroke, Dovetail, Dressler, Rouge Tomate, Saul, and Seasonal, I'm not even sure why they have stars when places like Lincoln, Yasuda, and Craft don't have any. I think the one star list is debatable.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Riverman500

      Thank you so much for the useful info!!!!
      Guess I'll have to make my pick from the 'well tried' list of options!!
      BTW, now that I have a New York chowhounder here, I would like to ask a simple question.

      Having tried Le Bernadin and Marea for seafood, I would like to try something new. Would you choose from either Esca or Oceana or do you have a better option?? Thanks again!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        After Le Bernardin and Marea, the obvious follow-up would be the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare.

        If you can't get a reservation (or have already been there), Esca might work if you stick to the crudo and the seafood main courses. Their pasta dishes, in my opinion, aren't as good as Marea and the sides can be very hit or miss.

        Oceana is too nondescript for me, no discernable POV, just a bunch of "safe" dishes that you can find elsewhere, but the restaurant certainly has its fans on this board. I've heard good things about Estiatorio Milos but haven't been there yet. Millesime is good too but more casual than any of the other places mentioned so far.

        1. re: Riverman500

          I would throw in Aquagrill in the mix as potential possibility.

          It's been around for what seems like forever, and may feel a bit dates, but it knows how to do seafood.

      2. re: Riverman500

        River Cafe closure Information:

        May 2013

        After the damaging storm in October 2012, the task of rebuilding and restoring The River Cafe has been moving forward. The Terrace Room is finished and is ready for hosting events.

        Other areas of the restaurant require more attention to detail and will take several more weeks before work is completed. In some cases, delays in obtaining the proper equipment, materials and craftsmen have resulted in unexpected postponements of scheduled installations.
        It almost seems that the time it takes to make careful repairs to a landmark restaurant is greater than the the time it would take to build a new one.

        While it is not yet possible to predict exactly when The River Cafe will begin accepting reservations for lunch and dinner, everyone is hopeful that we will be ready in late Summer 2013.

        Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has expressed interest and support during the last few months.

        The Staff of The River Cafe


        Additionally, the River Cafe, Dressler & Saul are not in Manhattan, so you'd have to discuss them on the Outer Boroughs board.

      3. I've been to Seasonal, as it's close to where I stay in Midtown and you find very few Austrian restaurants around.

        The food was ok, Room felt cramped. We did the 3-course prix-fixe Taste of Austria menu, except for the lobster with poached egg. Not something I would want to recommend, or even worthy of returning, given the other dining options in NYC.

        As to why some restaurants are not mentioned, at least for me personally, I don't post about every single restaurant I visit. I usu. post if it was a notable meal (either really good or bad), or it was otherwise unique or interesting in some other respect (e.g. a unique dish).

        I think the oft-mentioned list of restaurants on Chowhound (e.g. EMP, Le Bernardin, Per Se, Ko, etc.) are mentioned often it's because, well, they're pretty good, and pretty consistently good.

        1. Gilt, SHO Shaun Hergatt, Adour, and Heartbreak are all closed.

          1. Brushstroke is excellent. Their vegetarian course is much better than what Kajitsu has now. I wasnt too impressed by the sushi at Ichimura, found everything to be ice cold, that could have been a DOH mandate.

            Heard good things about Rosanjin from the sushi chef at 15 East, he says the new chef there is great.

            Tori Shin is great, but the location could be better, and the DOH is crippling them, no more chicken sashimi, no more raw eggs, no liver, and DOH mandated meat temps are higher than they should be.

            Dovetail, my two meals there not very memorable. Nothing wrong with the food, but nothing to write home about.

            Heartbreak closed a while ago. My friend from Switzerland said it was too "swiss" for most Americans. Most people I know who went complained about the smell, but my swiss friend said most restaurants of that type smell like that back home.

            1. I get the impression restaurants with contemporary Austrian menus, like Seasonal and Wallse, are harder to sell in NYC than contemporary/continental, Italian or French Michelin starred restaurants. Contemporary/Continental, Italian and French cuisines tend to be more popular cuisines, with both locals and tourists, so they've got a bigger market, and get recommended more frequently on these boards.

              I have Wallse on my NYC Michelin one star wishlist, and Dovetail on my brunch wishlist.

              I'm surprised with all the types/levels of restaurants that have been awarded one Michelin star. I really liked the Spotted Pig's burger and ricotta gnudi, but it's a very loud, cramped gastropub with fairly ordinary service, that isn't at the same level as a place like Picholine, Ai Fiori, The Modern, etc.

              Charles, I'd save Milos for a visit to Montreal. I love Milos (specifically their grilled octopus, fried zucchini and eggplant, their take on the Greek salad. I was underwhelmed by the grilled fish I ordered on my last visit to the Montreal location). I wouldn't use one of my NYC meals to visit Milos since I visit it on most trips to Montreal.

              1. Besides the restaurants that have closed as mentioned already, much of it has to do with the skepticism over the 1 Michelin star rankings. You yourself have participated in a thread on 1 star Michelin restaurants in NYC: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/811714

                I think overall it has to do with the list being too broad. Often it's a case of the restaurant being (one of) the best version of a specific type of cuisine available in NYC, which does not necessarily mean it's actually that great for someone well-versed in that cuisine. Or it's a restaurant that does a mainstream cuisine well but not special enough. While there are still great restaurants on that one star list, there are too many of them to parse through and they just don't stand out as much as "the usuals".

                Regarding the usuals, if you haven't been to EMP in a while, I highly recommend revisiting. I should be posting a thread tomorrow or Thursday about a recent revisit and how the experience holds up. Whereas I did not feel a restaurant like Le Bernardin felt as special on a revisit.

                In terms of composed seafood, I like Esca a lot although I believe it's gotten a little less consistent since Pasternack has gotten involved in a lot more other ventures. Not sure if it'll "beat" Le Bernardin or Marea though. If you're not interested in sushi, another possibility for seafood is Greek, and I've heard good things about Milos, although it's very very pricey.

                1. Thank you all for your interesting and valuable information and comments!!

                  First off, I think we will give everything Japanese a pass during our coming meet in NYC. Fellow S'pore chowhounder Fourseason, IMO, possesses one of the most discriminating and knowledgeable palette about Japanese food on the chowhound blog! To my knowledge, he visits Japan every year and has eaten in almost all the top Michelin and Tablelog rated restaurants in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hokkaido!! When we ate at Yasuda a few years back, after our impressive ( my opinion ) Omakase meal, with the master, Yasuda San, at the helm, Fourseason's verdict about the experience was that its only so-so by Japan standard!! And I don't think I'll dish out over $600 eating at MASA to prove him wrong! Ha!!!

                  Any ways, back to my last chow choice.

                  After hearing all the inputs, I think I am going to take an 'off tangent' approach and go with "Aquavit"!!

                  I am always an advocate in trying restaurants that got promoted in rating or Michelin stars and, better still, been in business for a long time and 'finally' get that elusive star!
                  I believe Aquavit is such a case! Having been in business for so many years and missing out on Michelin, there must be pretty good positive reasons for them to be awarded the star that has been evading them for so long?!! Besides, their menu seems to have a fair amount of seafood choices!

                  What think you all??!!

                  Lastly, its such a shamer to see all those Michelin 1 and 2 stars closing in your city!! I thought, Wall Street and the economy has recovered??!!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    My opinion is that a # of those you listed are either closed (Gilt, SHO, Adour) or nothing special in the vastness of middle range restaurants in NYC (Saul, Dressler, etc). And the ones that are top end are only discussed when something new happens or someone comes to visit; otherwise, we're just repeating the same stuff vis a vis places that are good enough to be consistent over time. I dont believe you'd get much opposition to wanting to visit EMP, Corton or Le Bernadin.

                    At any rate, I personally think Aquagrill is a very good choice. I'd also take a look at Louro... you might find it interesting, even though Michelin & some of the local critics, in my opinion, underrated it.

                    1. re: Steve R

                      I just want to make sure Charles Yu is not mixing up Aquagrill (which a number of us have recommended) with Aquavit, which Charles has apparently decided upon ...

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I have eaten in Aquagrill. Loved their softshell crab.
                        My choice for the upcoming trip is Aquavit - the Scandinavian Cuisine place!
                        Will do more research on Louro! Thanks!

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          Wallse is excellent Austrian food, its sister restaurant Blau Gans is good but not as refined.
                          Jungsik should be on your list.
                          Brushstroke is much better than it was when it first opened and definitely worth trying. As far as Brushstroke having any Michelin stars and Yasuda not, they are not the same type of food, so I don't get the comparison. (Ichimura at Brushstroke is for sushi and is excellent. it is a different reservation)
                          Brooklyn Fare is good, but not Michelin service, or atmosphere.
                          Monica: Chefs tasting at Louro is good and reasonably priced. But I think too much food.

                      2. re: Steve R

                        Louro has not been open long enough to be reviewed by Michelin.

                      3. re: Charles Yu

                        Though Aquavit has been around a long time, the current chef, Marcus Jernmark, has only been there about 2 years, if I'm not mistaken. During that time he has made huge progress, reaching the point of a very well-deserved star.

                        Also, it usually takes quite a while for a chef to be evaluated by Michelin, much longer than by the local press, and even in that case, the Times has not reviewed it since Jernmark took over. I think you've made a great choice and hope you enjoy it!

                      4. How is Chef's tasting menu at Louro? Anyone done it?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Monica

                          Here's some nice photos of the chef's tasting:

                          Looks like the author was a previous attendee of Santos' supper club and received a few extra courses.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            Thanks, Kathryn.
                            What is this supper club? How is it related to Louro?

                            1. re: Monica

                              The chef used to host group dinners out of his home, the Um Segredo supper club, before opening Louro.