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If Washington has michelin stars

what would be starred

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  1. If you are looking for exclusivity, then the only answer to your question is Minibar. With only 18 seats, an almost impossible reservation (though used to be harder with only 6 seats; they recently expanded.)

    Link to their website (reservation by email only):


    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Exclusivity is not a criterion for the Michelin rankings.

      One star: "A very good restaurant in its category" ("Une très bonne table dans sa catégorie")
      Two stars: "Excellent cooking, worth a detour" ("Table excellente, mérite un détour")

      Three stars: "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey" ("Une des meilleures tables, vaut le voyage")

      I wish they would add consistency. So many DC restaurants are brilliant for a few months and then slide into mediocrity and fade away or are wildly uneven.

      1. re: Just Visiting

        Every restaurant I recommend is "A very good restaurant in its category," That goes without saying. Or so I thought.

        In the absence of stars, I was trying to be helpful in pointing out an experience (albeit très cher) that might receive stars in the future. The restaurant underwent extensive renovation since the last published list and the reviewers could not have considered it in its present form.

        Anyway, the OP can always glean more info from the website and other sources.

        1. re: Steve

          The reviewers could not have reviewed it in its past form or its present form because Michelin does not review restaurants in Washington, D.C. Just NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco.

    2. Komi and Rogue 24 would be starred in my estimation. Possibly Fiola and CityZen.

      1. I would imagine Marcel's would also be starred. And Restaurant Eve.

        9 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau

          I keep on getting told by chefs that the service is part of the criteria when its not. They only judge the food.

          1. re: Chadsie

            "They only judge the food..."

            Actually, that's not quite true. There are other requirements that have to do with the décor/equipment. For example, the napkins must be a certain minimum size and a certain weight of cloth. The amount of cutlery for a place setting is also regimented.

            The Harwood Arms is a pub in London that is a Michelin one- star. If you look at the photographs of the place, you can see that the tables are bare wood, but the napkins at each place setting are rolls of good-quality cloth. (Look at photograph 2. The thickness of the folded hem tells me how much heft the cloth has.)

            1. re: Indy 67

              The stars are about the food. The couvert (the crossed fork-and-spoons) are about the service, ambiance, and comfort. One being the lowest, four the highest, and, if in red, exceptional.

              1. re: Just Visiting

                Thanks for the clarification about the stars VS the couvert symbol, but I believe a restaurant won't even be considered for Michelin status unless it includes some very specific items -- the napkin standards being one of the more memorable. I've read too many articles by Michelin-league chefs who talk about the napkin requirement to think it is simply urban legend.

          2. re: ktmoomau

            i imagine they are already eligible. In principle there is nothing stopping Michelin from already awarding these restaurants stars.

            It's a very exclusive club, and I don't know how they decide these things. The idea that there is not a single 'very good' restaurant in DC is preposterous. But that is the way it is; it's their system. Make of it what you will.

            1. re: Steve

              Michelin only started rating U.S. restaurants in 2005. They chose to start in NYC and then added San Francisco and Chicago. They don't rate restaurants in DC. So it isn't that they haven't found one that merits one or more stars. It is that they aren't reviewing restaurants here at all.

              1. re: Just Visiting

                I am thinking of san fran , Chicago , New York that all have Michelin stars any other cities I should add.

                1. re: Chadsie

                  I guess I don't understand your question. What do you mean "any other cities I should add"? You just responded to a post that says that in the U.S., Michelin only reviews restaurants in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Do you think I'm fibbing? In error? Just wrong? OK, let's use the internet...the wikipedia page says that they had once also done Las Vegas and Los Angeles but those have both been suspended since 2008. So for now, it is just NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco.

                  You could go directly to the Michelin site for North America:


                  You will see that there are guides only for these three cities.

            2. Here's the current NYC 3-star list:

              Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare
              Eleven Madison Park
              Jean Georges
              Le Bernardin
              Per Se

              What does DC have in that category in terms of creativity and brilliance of cooking? Maybe Restaurant Eve or CityZen. Yes, Minibar, but for the food, not the craziness that goes with trying to get a seat. From what I hear, Little Serow. If you include Frederick, then Volt.

              I have been to Gramercy Tavern and (just tonight) Craft. It is hard to think of any other places that have that level of professionalism in all regards - food, service, decor, wine list...Ashok Bajaj has all but the food - it is always good but not quite there.

              I look at the one star list - wow. Gramercy Tavern is only one star. Blue Hill. Babbo. Bouley. Spotted Pig. Tamarind Tribeca. And wd-50. These are all fantastic restaurants.

              Now ask yourself - what do we have that is in the 1-star category? Not much. So don't expect much in the 2- or 3-star.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Just Visiting

                "What does DC have in that category in terms of creativity and brilliance of cooking?"

                There is creativity and brilliance, but not always 'in that category.'

                I put the Lao menu at Bangkok Golden above Minibar, Rogue 24, Little Serow, Cityzen, and anything expensive I've eaten in DC for the last 34 odd years. Add to that with a touch of advanced planning you can get Chef Seng to prepare any number of custom dishes, then it's not even close. I could easily say the same thing for Grace Garden. Once you get the chef to cook for you with some advanced conversation, it simply slays all the others mentioned here.

                With no advance notice I'd still prefer a meal at Joe's Noodle House or Oohhs and Aahhs.

                1. re: Steve

                  Steve - Have you organized a chowhound meal at Bangkok Golden?

                  1. re: shake N baik

                    Yes, a couple of times. And I am all ready to do it again if there is demand.

                      1. re: shake N baik

                        I keep an e-mail list and usually do the planning offline. Send me a PM (my email is in my profile) and I'll put your name on the list. This is open to anyone reading this...

              2. I am going to Chicago, New York and San Fran. I know the guide is not produced anywhere else but IF it was where would it be where is great dining in North America. They are three cities in the USA I am sure Michelin is looking at other cities so I am wondering what would those cities be

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chadsie

                  You asked "any other cities I should add." Not that Michelin should add. If that is what you were wondering, then the question would have been "any other cities *they* should add?"

                  1. re: Just Visiting

                    they should ask for the cities so I should add them to the route.

                2. This thread is frustrating to read!

                  I would think a comparison to the Chicago Michelin list rather than NY would be more appropriate.

                  Some pundits would argue that the Michelin lists are already diluted in the U.S. compared to the quality in Europe, Asia etc., so if they do eventually rate DC/Baltimore they’ll find restaurants to star. They do seem to keep a certain ration of 3 vs 2 vs 1 stars. They also started a Bib Gourmand list which highlights inexpensive, high quality, diverse establishments. For my money, this list is more fun to look at.

                  I'm not sure I could argue for anything in DC (or Baltimore) being three stars. At the end of the day though, it's sort of a moot point as Steve mentioned.

                  1. This thread asked what DC restos shld be starred. Instead, it ventured off into absurd and unrelated cul-de-sacs; why cannot responders respond to the OP? What area restos shld get how many stars?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: tartuffe

                      Only minor detours, most posts deal with what constitutes a Michelin star.

                      For my part I think there are a few hole-in-the wall spots that, if judged by food alone, would be considered very good or better. But do I think they will actually be awarded a Michelin star? No.

                      I didn't realize when I first posted that Michelin has only considered three US cities in the past. But in no case has a hole-in-the-wall been considered, so my guess that 'food alone' may not exactly be an accurate description of their process.

                      They can't award a star to a restaurant they don't send a judge to. So I'm guessing they are excluding certain kinds of places from the outset.

                      1. re: Steve

                        As another poster took the time to explain, Michelin does in fact have a separate guide for the less expensive restaurants. The guide is called Bib Gourmand. So indeed, Michelin has in fact considered and rated many hole-in-the-wall spots.


                        The thread went into diversions because IF the OP wants to know which restaurants would be likely to receive Michelin stars, it is necessary to know how Michelin awards stars. What are the criteria? Otherwise, everyone could simply list the restaurants that are his or her personal favorites for one reason or another, but those restaurants might never earn even a single Michelin star because they don't meet the criteria that Michelin uses. "I like it" or "I love it" is probably not sufficient for a Michelin star.

                        I can use only those Michelin-starred restaurants that I've visited as a basis for comparison and it is for that reason that I
                        listed Restaurant Eve, CityZen, and MiniBar. There are many other terrific restaurants in DC but I don't think they'd make the list if the one-star category is for places like Blue Hill or Gramercy Tavern or Bouley. I think the three I mentioned are at least as good as those if not better - though I haven't been to MiniBar so on that one I'm going by what others report. I would also put Volt in that category. I think most of DC's best restaurants might be able to get one star.

                        There's something about those NY one-stars that really is special. I had a piece of fish at Craft that blew me away. It was like silk. It was so perfectly cooked. Every single item at that dinner blew me away. The quality of the ingredients, the perfection in the preparation, the presentation, the service, the timing of the meal. And Gramercy Tavern was even better. It is really hard to think of meals I've had in DC that were of that caliber. I certainly enjoyed Vidalia, Bistro Bis, Tabard Inn, and many other fine dining restaurants in DC but they are just missing something that (were I a Michelin reviewer) would get them to that first star.

                    2. Komi and Rogue 24 would get 2 stars. Eve, Cityzen, Marcel and Rasika may get 1. If we included Inn at Little Washington, it might get 2. Volt as a whole is too pedestrian to get any stars (only Table 21 is star worthy). Fiola on a good day gets 1 star but the problem is they're very inconsistent so no stars.

                      1. More interesting info about how Michelin does its thing:


                        From former director Jean-Luc Naret:
                        You just don't get it! It is clearly written that we judge the décor and service, too, but for the stars, it is only what's on the plate."

                        To cover the entire United States, Michelin assigns just ten full-time inspectors, who eat lunch and dinner out every day, usually alone and unknown to the other inspectors, like moles in secret cells. Which means that an initial inspection is made by a single, perhaps dyspeptic inspector who makes his report and judgment on the basis of a single meal, in which there may have been a misstep, an overcooked piece of fish, a tad too much salt, or a lunch menu that has little to do with dinner, that would remove the restaurant from further consideration for a star. Unlike a city newspaper reviewer, who may visit three times with several guests, the majority of Michelin ratings are ultimately based on two meals by one or two inspectors, who may have agonized as to whether to order fish or meat, a special or a signature dish....If the restaurant does merit further interest, a different inspector will visit...


                        michelininspector1.jpgNightline interviewed an anonymous Michelin inspector, who had her face blurred out and chose to go by the single letter "M." Click through to hear about how reviewing restaurants is like judging dog shows, the lonely life of a Michelin critic, and also an anecdote from Eric Ripert about the moment he got his third star.