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Would any Boston restaurants get any Michelin stars?

If the Michelin Guide came to the Boston area, what restaurants would get a Michelin Star or stars?

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  1. The ones that could afford the bribe money. Oh wait, am I thinking of the Phatom Gourmet? (misspelled on purpose.)

      1. Michelin should go to Portland ME before Boston. Preferably neither place.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Karl S

          oh, i guess it would be some kind of validation of the Boston food scene if Michellin rated Boston; I would be shocked if any place here would get 3 stars though there are several that would rate at least one star.

          If you look through the CH archives you can read opinions on this topic. I guess Neptune, Island Creek would be new additions as possible one star restaurants.

        2. i think we'd do ok in the one-star range. 3? no way.

          i've had the luxury of one 3-star michelin meal in alsace. the evening was impeccable from entrance to exit. even dining as a super-vip i have NEVER had an equally flawless dinner in boston.

          having worked for several james beard award winners here, i have a pretty good handle on boston dining. we are not there. it's not just food and flatware. service is a huge factor in the michelin system and boston cannot cut it on a high enough level consistently.

          22 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Agreed. I'd be surprised if any restaurant here got one star.

            1. re: Karl S

              You don't think L'Espalier, Menton, Craige on Main or O Ya would get one star?

              Where would Olena rate?

              1. re: Eastwind

                I would be surprised if they got one star. Boston's restaurants just don't align with food-service-ambience in that way. Doesn't mean they don't have wonderful food, but the traditional Michelin culture is different (more consistently disciplined and groomed in all dimensions) than the culture we've grown here locally, shall we say. Boston's high end restaurants used to be stuffy, safe and stale; that world has gone with the wind, and now they are more casual or modern, safe and faux-idiosyncratic.

                1. re: Karl S

                  i disagree. if places like hind's head or royal oak can get one, i think someplace like craigie or clio could easily obtain 1-star.

                  for all the aspirations of menton and l'espalier they absolutely cannot approach the level of eleven madison (3-stars) or even taillevent (2-stars).

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I just think the ambience of those places in Boston lacks true identity (the old L'Espalier, by contrast, did have that, even with the problems it had). You may be correct that Michelin would not care as much as I suspect it would.

                    1. re: Karl S

                      Michelin stars are presumably awarded only on quality and consistency of the food - NOT on ambiance or service. I am sure ambiance and service likely impact one's perception of the cuisine, but these are not what Michelin inspectors are supposed to be considering.

                      Having dined in over 30 different Michelin starred venues in the US during the past two years I am quite confident Boston/Boston area would have several restaurants starred were Michelin to commence coverage (certainly no three starred venues though and perhaps no two starred venues). Of places I have been (I live in Chicago, but travel periodically to Boston) Menton and L'Espalier would be solid one stars (with a chance at two). Craigie on Main and Guilias would be strong one star candidates. I have not been to O Ya yet, but from what I have heard this likely would be a no brainer. No 9 Park and Clio likely would have a good shot as well and as well as some other venues such as Oleana, Rendevous etc. I am heading to Salts next month for my first time, but have also heard great things about them. I was hoping Journeyman would be Michelin caliber, but was fairly disappointed in my meal there - so unless it was an off night I would take them out of the equation.

                      1. re: Gonzo70

                        Giulia? Michelin star? You have got to be kidding. I know some Hounds like the place, but you can't be serious.

                        1. re: mkfisher

                          Absolutely serious; I would say that Giulia compares very favorably to many Michelin starred venues I have frequented (and the chef/owner has sure worked at some highly regarded multi Michelin starred venues before opening Giulia).

                          While a "typical" Michelin starred venue does have more formal service, extensive wine program , formal service by an army of waitstaff there are several exceptions. In Chicago for example there are two BYOB venues (Schwa and Goosefoot) as well as some casual places (i.e. Mexique, Takashi) and one venue is simply a pub with great food (Longman & Eagle). Schwa not only is BYOB, but is extremely casual and service can be horrendous (they rarely answer the phone, by mid meal the staff is often highly intoxicated, they frequently close and cancel reservations an hour before your meal etc.). New York has even more casual type venues that are starred and are far from fine dining than is the case with Chicago. Michelin follows and stars far more than just formal, traditional fine dining establishments.

                          1. re: Gonzo70

                            If Mexique can get a star, literally any of the restaurants listed on this thread could theoretically be contenders. They serve Mexican fusion food - it's good, but not outstanding in any way - food, service, ambiance, beverage.

                            1. re: Gonzo70

                              Longman and Eagle is Michelin-starred? That's interesting.

                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                Yes, they have been all three years Chicago has been covered by Michelin.

                                1. re: Gonzo70

                                  Huh. I guess I don't really understand Michelin ratings. I've been to L&E several times and have always had excellent food, cocktails and service, but I can't help but wonder if reviewing a pub--even a very good one--is a way to try to hip up or make Michelin relevant in the US?

                                2. re: LeoLioness

                                  Wow! I was just there two weeks ago. Right outside Logan Square train station. I wouldn't call the meal or service earth-shattering, but it was very good. And bartenders were knowledgeable about bourbon. They have rooms for rent upstairs.

                            2. re: Gonzo70

                              I have been to Danji in NY which has 1 star and is proof you don't need great service, wine program, or even great chairs. You share a long table with other diners and you sit on a stool!

                              The Korean food is very good, but it's not the same level as E'spalier or Menton. Hard to compare because average check at Danji is only $38.

                              If Danji can get 1 star, E'spalier and Menton for sure would get 1 star. In fact I would say Toro is as good as Danji, so Toro should get 1 star too!

                              1. re: Gonzo70

                                OK. I've been laboring under misimpression that Michelin factors other things than consistency and quality of cuisine into the star ratings. So I withdraw my surprise remarks.

                                1. re: Karl S


                                  ^^^^here's a brief interview with 2 gentlemen who work for michelin.


                                  ^^^^and this direct from michelintravel.com.

                                  at the end:

                                  "Along with the rating of stars, the MICHELIN Guide provides a written description of each locale with a variety of symbols to give further insight into an establishment. Ambiance, specialties, and wine are just a few of the factors."

                                  they purposely keep a shroud of mystery over their criteria so places really will step up their game.

                                  having worked with graduates of ecole hotelière de lausanne, les roches, glion & bulle and cornell and spoken with numerous chefs with a galaxy of stars, they would die laughing (or of horror) if you suggested it was *only* about the food.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    FYI the description of ambiance, wine etc. are totally separate from the stars which ONLY consider the food. Your link even explains that - for some reason you cut & paste some text out of context to make a misleading statement. Anyone can read your link and see that officially stars are all about the food - though I agree factors such as service, ambiance and to a lesser extent wine indirectly exert influence.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      Again, this strikes me as long-held conventional wisdom about Michelin ratings. I'm surprised by assertions that it's only about the food. Wish I had more current experience of such places to speak more personally on the subject.


                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        Ambiance and service probably have an indirect effect to some degree but I'm not totally sure. Momofuku Ko does have 2 stars and the service/ambiance are nothing great.

                                        1. re: pcarC4

                                          I think this Top 100 List might give a rough estimate of what restaurants in the USA that are in cities not covered my Michelin are star worthy. Of the restaurants in the Top 25 on this list that are in New York, Chicago and San Francisco most are Michelin 2 or 3 star; of the restaurants ranked 26-100 that are in New York, Chicago and San Francisco most are Michelin 1 star. Sure there are exceptions and Top 100 lists are inherently subjective - so I am by no means saying restaurants on this list definitely would be starred and restaurants not on this list would definitely not be starred, but the list does provide a rough idea of what restaurants might get starred (in this case O Ya, Menton, No 9 Park and Journeyman). I am very surprised L'Espalier is not on this list.


                                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                                        Sounds like Michelin is going to be outdated here and in most places around the globe if they are stuck on the fancy ambiance and over-the-top wine lists requirements.

                                        1. re: Eastwind

                                          for 1- and 2-stars they aren't. they never have been. it doesn't mean you can have dirty cutlery and beringer white zin and still expect to make the cut.

                                          please realize the guide's expansion outside of france is relatively recent and the shift in chefs no longer striving to succeed in the french fashion, with french-based food, is too. everything evolves and the culinary world changed more quickly in the last 2 decades than it did in all of the 20th century.

                      2. Of the restaurants I've been to I think Menton and Craigie on Main (if Cambridge counts) would garner at least one Michelin star, if not more.

                        Have yet to try L'Espalier, which if what I'm told is true, would also be Michelin worthy.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Agreed totally. I was going to reply to this thread last night but I got sidetracked. I don't think that ICOB or Neptune are inventive enough. They have great raw materials and cook really well, but neither the ambiance nor the intricacy of the menus are on the same scale as Michelin starred places in the UK and Europe.

                          I agree Craigie would probably get a star, and though I have not been, if the hype and reputation is to be belived - Salts; L'Espalier; Ouishii; Menton and Journeyman.

                        2. I'm thinking every Boston-area restaurant except for L'Espalier and Menton falls down on the service score; those two are one-star joints, maybe.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            Agreed. And even for those two, the ambience is rather generic/bland, which doesn't help for Michelin from what I've understood. Boston's peculiar economies of scale problem (a booming Creative Class real estate market without the volume of dining foot traffic to support what the other mega-dining markets support) has done a ruthless job in exterminating all of its truly charming dining spaces.

                          2. No way any restaurant in Boston would get three stars. One star would be a stretch and a long one at that.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jjbourgeois

                              Agreed. And to say that Neptune would be considered for 1 star is comical, although I'm sure Jeff Nace would argue he's worthy for 3.

                            2. For anyone who's been to 1-star places in NYC you'd probably agree that really no place in Boston would hit that 1-star mark, save for Menton and maybe L'Espalier, although the service at the latter was not close to Menton.

                              A starred restaurant needs great food but also a great wine program and exceptional service. You can get good-to-great food in Boston, sure, but wine programs pale in comparison to most of the 1-star (let alone 2 and 3-star) places I've been. Vintages are too recent, too reliant on name brands, lists are shallow and lacking high end sommelier service generally.

                              Service at most of the higher end Boston restaurants is "fine" but rarely exemplary, often lacking specific menu knowledge and that above-and-beyond service you'd expect at a Michelin starred restaurant. Menton was the best I've had and it was pretty comparable to 1-star places in NYC that I've been.

                              tl;dr Menton would probably get 1-star.

                              19 Replies
                              1. re: QuakerInBoston

                                For anyone who's been to 1-star places in NYC you'd probably agree that really no place in Boston would hit that 1-star mark, save for Menton and maybe L'Espalier, although the service at the latter was not close to Menton.

                                I'm sorry, but there are quite a few Michelin 1-Star NYC restaurants that are, shall we say, quite lacking in the service dept and certainly not "exemplary" (as you say).

                                For example, Breslin (great food, ok service), Hakkasan (service no better/worse than many other restaurants at that price point), wd-50 and Spotted Pig (more than once service has been slow and inattentive at both places).

                                That is not to say that the service at those three restaurants mentioned above are "bad" or "poor" but there's nothing about their service, per se, that is distinguishable or "exemplary" as you say. I'm sure there are other 1-Star Michelin restaurants in NYC that are superb, but I would dare say that there are Boston restaurants who are on par with most of the 1-Star NYC restaurants.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I thought the stars were based solely what was on the plate and not on service. Isn't that what the fork and spoon are for?

                                  1. re: pcarC4

                                    That's what they say. In reality it's not true, though. Service and wine/liquor program play a large part. There are exceptions where the food is so great/innovative that the other parts can be deficient, though.

                                    1. re: QuakerInBoston

                                      what exceptions are you thinking about? at least for 2 or 3 star places, all that i have tried have had great rooms. 1 star might be a little more dicey.

                                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                        I was thinking more ont he 1-star side. I agree, no 2 or 3 stars I've been to have had great rooms and mostly great service.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    Well, Spotted Pig and Hakkasan are both considered glaring additions (with SP considered a ridiculous 1-star place) to the 1-star list by a lot of people. I've had pretty good service at The Breslin but, I'd also lump it into the "what were they thinking" category.

                                    wd~50 isn't the best service, although it's generally quite good, but it gets the nod due to Dufresne's creativity and being NYC's answer to Grant Achatz).

                                    I would say only Menton and L'Espalier are in the general realm, with O Ya being almost there but really, really lacking in service and having a laughable liquor program.

                                    1. re: QuakerInBoston

                                      What about Clio? Strong bar program.

                                      1. re: QuakerInBoston

                                        That's exactly it, you just sort of proved the point.

                                        Michelin will overlook service issues if the food (and overall quality of the restaurant) is up to their standard -- whatever that might be.

                                        "Exemplary" service is neither a sufficient nor necessary condition for the star system.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          "The Michelin star was born in 1926, developing in 1931 into the three-star system we see today. One star denotes “A very good restaurant in its category”, two “Excellent cooking, worth a detour” and three “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”. "

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            Right, and none of that mentions service, explicitly.

                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                            I think the food needs to be crazy different (and really good) to be starred if the service and wine program are both subpar.

                                            That's why I'd think O Ya might have a shot but their service and drinks program are really subpar.

                                            1. re: QuakerInBoston

                                              Lan Sheng, Cafe China, and Danji do not have what anyone would consider notable wine/drink programs, and none of them really have food that one would consider "crazy different" or even really good.

                                              Lan Sheng and Cafe China (typical Sichuan fare); Danji (staid Korean fusion). And I'm almost certain none of them have resident sommeliers.

                                              1-Star. Both.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Have you been to these places to judge whether the food is any good? If so, what I'm hearing is that the Michelin Guide, in straying from its once very formal strictures about what kind of places merit its star ratings (which historically had to be rather French in aspect if not necessarily cuisine, and rather formal), is no longer reliable at all, in which case, how could anyone judge what in Boston might or might not meet its increasingly mercurial standards?


                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  there used to be an old joke in paris that the difference between a 1- and 2-star restaurant was clean ashtrays. :)

                                                  never been to china but have eaten at michelin-starred joints in france, england and nyc. from speaking to chefs and owners i don't believe michelin has strayed all that much from its original mission, other than traveling outside of france. even in 1-stars, i had service that put most of boston's to shame. having worked with numerous people from top-hospitality schools in europe, asserting service isn't a factor in the michelin metric is ridiculous.

                                                  it's all of a piece -- the room, the food, the wines, the service. yes, the food is the most important factor but everything counts.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    This was always my understanding of how the Guide works, too.


                                                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    Yes, I have been to Danji, Lan Sheng (not this year) and Cafe China, as well as Spotted Pig, Breslin and Hakkasan mentioned up thread.

                                                    All I was trying to show was that Michelin nowadays, anyway, has steered its focus less from wine programs and formal, white-table cloth service to I suppose just the food.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      interesting to hear your take on the 1 stars since i haven't been to many, but it lines up with what the michelin ny editor said about their approach (see my comment below); i've wondered if that is an ny specific thing, or if all of michelin is moving that route

                                                      that said, i think as opposed to 'service' per se, one thing michelin often talks about in writeups is having a (seeming) obsession with consistency at restaurants (for example, they have claimed two years in a row that Next would never qualify for a michelin star because of the way the menu and concept rotate... we'll see if they hold to that this year soon i suppose!). I wonder if that might explain why some of these places got the nod as opposed to others, or if that's become more of a proxy as opposed to the type of service?

                                                      1. re: valcfield

                                                        When you say consistency, do you consistency in quality or consistency in menu offerings?

                                                        I think the former is something that Michelin traditionally has always focused on (hence, the repeat visits by reviewers).

                                                        As to the latter, not exactly sure what you mean and not exactly sure what you mean ...

                                                        I also think Next is a bit of a bad example in this regard (vis-a-vis MIchelin) because it's really not "one" restaurant, per se, but essentially 3 (or multiple) restaurants at the same address in a calendar year, which from what I understand never repeats itself. It's like a "pop-up" on steroids. It's hard to give a Michelin imprimatur to such a concept because future readers of the guide will find the rating useless as by the time they visit Next the restaurant concept that was reviewed is no longer extant. In the same way, there's no conceivable way Michelin would rate a "pop-up" no matter how good the food/service was.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          I meant the former, for sure, and didn't mean to say it was a new focus, but more meant that, in the decline of looking for a specific style, if consistency of experience (so not just food, but say the style of service itself, ambience, etc.) might be getting more focus, or as a way of trying to provide guidance for what to look for once you get away from saying "the restaurant has to be the kind of place that folds your napkin for you when you leave the table." but that was just curious speculation on my part, not anything based on experience.

                                                          as for Next, not to drive this too far off topic, but while i do understand that argument that the guide has made, i think its a bit silly given how many restaurants claim to turn over their entire menu, for seasonal reasons, etc, *at least* on a three times a year basis. in some ways, while it is certainly harder to predict what cuisine Next will tackle... next (ugh)... because its one set menu for 4 months, and the service style is quite similar from menu to menu, it actually might be a *more* consistent spot than many other fine dining places. but, psychologically, i can see where the commitment to change just makes it seem much more ephemeral than a typical restaurant.

                                      2. o ya is not worthy of one star?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Gordough

                                          Food wise, it might be worthy of 2 stars. Service and liquor program? No way.

                                        2. I do wonder if the whole idea of the value of a Michelin Star varies by generation? I'm 31, and I place absolutely zero value on them when looking for places to dine in other cities.

                                          Also, it's an admittedly small sample but a couple younger chefs I've spoken with share that same opinion.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: mkfisher

                                            i would not shun the 3 star restaurants in SF, Chicago, NYC; they are all excellent places. But of course, there are plenty of other places that i would hit.

                                            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                              It's not about shunning them. It's just a data point I choose to ignore. For example, I'd love to eat at Alinea. Not because it has 3 stars, but because the food really excites me. Not more complicated than that.

                                              1. re: mkfisher

                                                i don't know that obtaining michelin stars is as much a driving force for stateside chefs as it is for those working in europe. the reviewing here is too recent.

                                                however, i agree that some chefs are deliberately taking a lower-keyed approach and not shooting for 3-stars. the expense and stress are too immense.

                                            2. re: mkfisher

                                              Would agree with cambridgedoctpr on the upper bound: in general, i think people/chefs gripe that michelin is underinclusive, focusing too much on a particular style of service/food/etc., than they gripe that its overinclusive, giving stars (esp the 2/3 range) to restaurants that don't deserve it (with the exception perhaps that some places, ie gordon ramsay at the london in nyc, are not demoted fast enough).

                                              That said, i think it also varies a bit city to city; nyc's editor at least claimed they were making a concerted effort to modernize a bit in how they approach rankings, pointing (iirc) and the fact that atera got 2 stars in its first year, and brooklyn fare quickly got 2 then 3 stars, is decent evidence of at least some progress on that front.

                                              1. re: mkfisher

                                                It's a good point: I'm also 31 and I really don't consider it crazy different than Zagat or Yelp, for that matter.

                                                I tend to lean on crowdsourced opinion for my dining choices, in general, with CH being a prime source of knowledge.

                                              2. Michelin is looking for the total package. A three star restaurant needs great food, great service and a great wine/beverage program. Here in Boston no place comes close in all three aspects. Both Menton and L'Espalier have great service, neither have great/consistent food or a great wine program with the depth that Michelin is looking for. O Ya has great food but both the service and the wine/beverage program are not even close. Craigie fails in all three categories, while the food is very good and "Fit for Foodies" it lacks some of the luxury items you would want to see on a three star Michelin menu (Foie Gras, Prime Meats etc.). A three star restaurant would have to be a combination of Menton (for service), O Ya (for food) and Troquet (for wine). If we could get these three together we would have it! That being said, I think only Menton, L'Espalier and O Ya would deserve one star.

                                                1. I spent months in France, and two years in Spain, decades ago. So my experience isn't recent to say the least, but the service and general ambience is at such a different level. It's hard to find the most specific words for it, but it does involve flowers, flatware, dishes, and I don't know anyway else to say it, but je ne sais quoi, we are here to ensure you have a great experience. (And in rural areas, dogs of the other patrons crawling under your table). Professional and not at all servile, not feeling put upon to give the service experience to you with mutual respect all around. I will never forget my DC saying "j' adore la France" while we were eating a simple but so perfect fried trout in a B&B in the Pyrennes. Next morning, we saw the owner walking to the very small local bakery to get fresh, perfect croissants.

                                                  I've never felt the same kind of attitude in America, and that's fine with me. I don't need France in America. And I've had great meals and congenial service in the US from places in bowling alleys on up. It's just different, but we can get great food all the same.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Madrid

                                                    I think the word you might looking for is "class."

                                                  2. The Michelin rating system in America is still in its infancy so it's difficult to truly compare the ratings in America to those in Europe. It's clear that in the ratings of NYC and Chicago that a new evaluation system for America is being established that isn't 100% concurrent with the one in Europe.

                                                    My personal opinion based on a variety of factors (personal experiences at starred restaurants in Europe and America, professional experiences, grapevine) is that Boston definitely wouldn't have any three star places (as currently stands) and most likely wouldn't have any two star places either, BUT I haven't been to every place in the Boston area. It seems like a bit of a stretch for a place like L'Espalier or Menton to get two, but in the American system, maybe. One star just doesn't seem to fit given their aspirations.

                                                    I definitely think we have a handful of one star places (according to the American rating system, which seems slightly more lax). Places like Craigie and O Ya I would think. I haven't been to Asta but it sounds like they are sort of shooting for that.

                                                    I agree that in the Boston area for the most part, exceptional service is our Achilles heel.

                                                    Also, places do not necessarily need a wine program to be highly rated (at least in America). Brooklyn Fare had three stars when it was still BYO. That said, everything else has to pretty exceptional to make up for it.

                                                    1. It's still a tire company telling me where to eat. Call me when LL Bean tells me which movies to go see.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                        LL Bean does sell lobster rolls, however.

                                                      2. If Menton stepped it up a bit then maybe Menton can receive a star.

                                                        Michelin judges solely on the plate, but this isn't entirely true, given that the ambience and service accentuate the plate and the dining experience. A three star plate tastes better in a three star setting than it does in a sewer.

                                                        My firmest complaint about Boston's "haute" cuisine is consistency. Even if you have a unique and star-worthy experience…it's fleeting.

                                                        Think of Radius closing last year. Michael Schlow gave a very specific reason - "fine dining has been struggling because it has the connotation that a.) it's going to be expensive, and b.) that you're going to be there for a really long time."

                                                        Boston simply may lack the culture. I'm a firm believer that the inhabitants deserve their food scene. In the end, it's supply and demand.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: remarque

                                                          Old post but I agree in general. Although, Menton is likely a 1-star restaurant in NYC. Not that hard to grab a star. If Spotted Pig/Aska/Telepan are getting one, Menton/L'Espalier/O Ya/Clio/etc all have a solid shot at one based on their food.

                                                          That said, I'll agree re: consistency. It's my biggest issue in Boston at its best places. The same dish could be prepared completely differently, and not by design, on back-to-back nights. Cooking missteps are rampant even at our best places. Not to say this is unique to Boston but eating in NYC for most of my life, I never saw the sort of inconsistency at (in honor of this thread) most 1 or 2 star places that I see in our best places.

                                                          1. re: remarque

                                                            ok, coming from schlow that is lol funny. radius was expensive but more importantly failed to deliver on value in its category. coupled with a long-standing economic down-turn, people who could took their expense accounts elsewhere and business went poof.

                                                            radius had its day in the sun when schlow was consistently in the kitchen. food started to falter as he expanded his empire. service and wine fell off precipitously when esti parsons and christopher myers left.

                                                            one of the best meals i ever had in boston was at via matta. it was a private event, about 8 of us, that included joe bastianich and mario batali. michael's food blew everybody out of the water. guy could cook!!! but it had been so long since i'd had anything so delicious from ANY of his kitchens i'd kind of forgotten how talented he was. he's another chef who can't find/keep/train the talent to keep all his properties at the level they should be.

                                                          2. Since my site is linked, let me say the following about Michelin. And this is merely speculation on my part but it comes from observing their rankings for many years. Some restaurants appear to receive stars due to their location. For example, if Michelin came to Boston and created the types of geographic sub-divisions that they have created in other cities, a restaurant located in Somerville, like Journeyman, stands a better chance of getting a star than a restaurant located in the Back Bay which has places like Cleo, Uni, L'Espalier etc.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: Steve Plotnicki

                                                              why would you say that? in nyc, there are a whole bunch of starred restaurants around 59th steet and the park?

                                                              that area is sort of like the back bay.

                                                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                Sorry I didn't explain it correctly. Michelin is a tire company. Their restaurant guide was built on giving people information about good places to eat that were worth travelling to. So if you look at their guides, it appears they go out of their ways to come up with a starred restaurant in unexpected places. It reinforces their brand. For example, when they first published in NYC, two of the restaurants that got one star were Dressler and Saul, which were located in two different parts of Brooklyn. Had those restaurant been located near Columbus Circle, I am not sure they would have received the star. Like I said this is only my take on it but, to me it seems like it easier to get a star in the 13th arr. of Paris than it is in the 8th which is overflowing with stars. Something else about Michelin is they like to be iconoclastic. Like it is sort of ridiculous that Noma doesn't have three stars. But they come off as if, don't tell us who to award three stars to. We'll decide. Possibly one of the worst things that can happen to a restaurant is if another guide awards them their highest honor before Michelin.

                                                                1. re: Steve Plotnicki

                                                                  Without commenting on star placements within a city, if Michelin were concerned with driving people out to odd places, why would they be so restrictive in where they set up guides in the first place? Why not have a generic 'America' guide that would allow them to throw single stars out across the country even if those areas didn't have much to offer, as opposed to concentrating their guides only on three specific cities in the US?

                                                                  1. re: valcfield

                                                                    The Michelin Guides are terribly unprofitable. So the answer to your question is probably a function of their P & L more than anything else. In fact one can't be sure that Michelin would have gone to the US or Asia if it wasn't for Zagat and guides like the 50 Best. But again, that is merely speculation on my part. Look at Los Angeles, why did they discontinue their guide there?

                                                                    1. re: Steve Plotnicki

                                                                      zagat has been publishing guides over 30 years. the 1st michelin guide was for nyc only in 2005 and many of those places were already incredibly well-known. i doubt michelin based its decision to venture here because of slim volumes like zagat that are basically poll-driven, often with input from folks who know very little about food.

                                                                  2. re: Steve Plotnicki

                                                                    I know that michelin is a tire company, but the fact that so many starred restaurants are a short walk from columbus circle makes me feel that they are relatively honest. And even if they give a star to a restaurant in Brooklyn, most people are going to use public transportation to get there.

                                                                    Your point would be better made about restaurants, for example, in the Napa Valley, where you would be stuck driving there.

                                                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                      i have to agree with this. am willing to bet many diners in tokyo, london and paris are taking public transport and not driving to dine.

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        First of all the idiosyncrasies in the Michelin Guides do not occur in a place like Columbus Circle that is overflowing with starred restaurants. They occur in less affluent areas of major cities where the price points are lower. Besides that, if you eliminate marketing as an explanation for idiosyncrasies in the Guides, the only reason for them would be errors in judgment. Having owned a business for over 30 years I can tell you that is highly unlikely for that to be the case. So whether they are "relatively honest" or not is not really the issue because I agree they are. The question is, when you see a restaurant that is a clear outlier, and it happens to be in a location that is not overflowing with starred restaurants, did something other than quality have an impact on their decision.

                                                              2. The thing I found most disappointing about restaurants in Boston, was how difficult it was to find organic beef! All the restaurants bar three served beef that had been fed on GM corn! That alone I'm afraid would prevent any restaurant from getting even one star! The vast majority of people in Europe find the idea if GM food repugnant, and long may it dray that way. Restaurants and even simple cafés take pride in serving organic produce at home, and it's expected in high end restaurants. I must say that I was very surprised by the complacency that people have with regard to eating GM foods!

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: Ksdouglas

                                                                  Complacency perhaps a mischaracterization of "informed by the Boston area's vast medical, scientific, and academic resources," in contrast to the FUD and superstition elsewhere?

                                                                  1. re: Ksdouglas

                                                                    while beef is probably not a healthful food; i have not seen any evidence that gm fed beef is worse than natural beef.

                                                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                      I would be interested in knowing how many Michelin-starred restaurants in the U.S. do/do not serve GM-corn-fed beef. I would be surprised if the answer is that none of the starred restaurants in the U.S. serve GM-corn-fed beef, given its ubiquity.

                                                                      Do any of the large steakhouse chains serve non-GM-corn-fed beef?

                                                                      1. re: CportJ

                                                                        "Do any of the large steakhouse chains serve non-GM-corn-fed beef?"


                                                                        nope. there isn't enough to satisfy the volume, nor is there is a demand on the consumer side. having worked in 2 high-end steakhouses here in boston, and having dealt with thousands of those guests, i could count on one hand how many times i was asked about the diet of the cows.

                                                                        americans are accustomed to the flavor and texture of corn-fed beef and i will safely hazard a guess it's not a ding as far as michelin is concerned. in fact, just looked at the 3-stars jean-georges ny menu which says "seared beef tenderloin".

                                                                        oh, and btw, the european concern about american beef relates to the usage of certain growth hormones, NOT the feed. and i hate to break it to ksdouglas, but american exports of gmo soy and corn are fed to cattle and pigs in the uk, europe and australia.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          "American exports of gmo soy and corn are fed to cattle and pigs in the uk, europe and australia."

                                                                          Absolutely. GM soy and corn are increasingly part of the global food supply. Like it or not, the cat is out of the bag.

                                                                          Even more interesting is the the most profitable GM crops, "Roundup Ready" (glyphosate tolerant) corn and soy is increasingly coming up against Roundup tolerant weeds. See this VERY recent article in the NY Times:


                                                                      2. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                        I heard Sheldon Krimsky talk about scientific evidence for the nutritional detriments of GMO food at the Cambridge Public Library in June. He teaches public health at Tufts. Admittedly the evidence he cited was not about beef specifically, and the experiments are from animal tests, not human case studies.
                                                                        He has a new book on this topic, which came out in June.
                                                                        Here's a link to the talk and book information.

                                                                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                          I heard Sheldon Krimsky talk about scientific evidence for the the nutritional detriments of GMO food a the Cambridge Public Library in June. He teaches public health at Tufts. Admittedly the evidence he cited was not about beef specifically, and the experiments are from animal tests, not human case studies.
                                                                          He has a new book on this topic, which came out in June.
                                                                          Here's a link to the talk and book information.

                                                                          1. re: femmevox

                                                                            I've been to some first class restaurants in the States that would definitely merit a Michelin star! (Not that that is the be all, and end all!) But I do not wAnt to support a company like Monsanto, which I'm afraid to inform you has a dreadful reputation in Europe and the rest of the world! I am aware of GM corn being fed to some animals here in Europe, but it is something that is used in cheaper meat like fast food outlets for example.
                                                                            Generally better quality restaurants would state the fact that they used organic produce, and take pride in it. Unfortunately sometimes these companies are forced on countries whether they want it or not, by totally useless politicians! The last Environment Minister that we had in the UK was all for Monsanto and GM everything and he was very unpopular, and eventually given the boot! Than goodness! The difference is that you don't have to support it!

                                                                            1. re: femmevox

                                                                              Hi I read your link to Sheldon Krimsky. It does sounds like an interesting book, which I would be interested to read. Perhaps more people should read it!