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San Fran Michelin

What will win three two and one michelin stars for 2015?

I know I am posting a lot but want to start three types of forums

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  1. The meal I had at Meadowood this month was superb.

    Any recent intel on TFL?

    Saison and Benu strong candidates for the big upgrade in my book.

    1. Hi Marilyn, I just wanted to comment that you're getting few responses other than trollish ones because the locals in San Francisco don't much care about Michelin ratings. We have our own ways of judging restaurant quality and the two don't necessarily mesh. It can be a useful measure for visitors who are star-struck but really doesn't get at what's most interesting in our local cuisine.

      32 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Mia colpa Melanie; You have twice my insight and four times my graciousness of expression. Or is it the other way?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Really? How do you feel the two sets of criteria differ?

            1. re: Eudoxus

              Who knows what criteria Michelin uses in awarding their stars beyond favoring French influence, high prices, and elaborate service, but around here the results are a narrowminded selection.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                How did a place like State Bird get a star then??

                But, also, in contrast, what at the criteria that SF locals mostly use in judging restaurants?

                1. re: Eudoxus

                  The criteria that SF locals who are frequent posters on Chowhound use in judging restaurants is: finding that special place before the masses find it. It is not really "judging" a place, but rather sharing experiences at places that have not been already covered.

                  In the olden days, Chowhound was about finding places that were undiscovered, leading the way vs following a "guide". In addition to the "finds", SF Chowhounds are a reliable source of what to eat at XXX BART, i.e., different locations.

                  Regarding the criteria that SF locals mostly use...based on the wide variety of restaurants, it is very diversified, but the food is probably one of them. For me, location and transportation often determine where I eat in the City.

                    1. re: Alan408

                      I think Robert missed the part about "not really judging" -- I think this is true. On the SF board, the emphasis is on providing information -- whether on a new find or a status update on a more well-known place -- rather than "reviewing" or "judging." Unlike some other boards, where I've seen things like "my review of X famous restaurant," most regulars on this board don't post about established/well-known restaurants unless they have something new to add.

                      Many of the regulars on this board go out to eat several times a week, so a new Cambodian restaurant where one might drop in and have a delicious, inexpensive meal (speaking of which, I've had a couple of good and surprisingly inexpensive meals at Angkor Grill in Alameda, which I didn't realize is run by the same people at the two Phnom Penh restaurants in Oakland) is much more interesting than a discussion of a special-occasion Michelin-starred restaurant that's well-covered in the food media.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Not to be a stickler, but, surely there is some judgement involved in posting about a place? Chowhound doesn't simply chronicle every restaurant opening in the entire city does it?

                        1. re: Eudoxus

                          Chowhound is just a collection of posts by individuals who have a wide variety of tastes and posting styles, so it's hard to generalize.

                          I think most people post whatever they think might be interesting to other people on the board.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            There's still some kind of judgment going on then.

                            I wonder what people here do find interesting.

                            1. re: Eudoxus

                              just read the posts - that's what the posters find worth noting.

                              1. re: Eudoxus

                                "Judgement" and "judging" are two different things! Sure I use my judgement in deciding what to post about . That's a separate activity from judging what I'm posting about. For example, I don't post every time I eat at East End pizza. In my judgement, I usually don't have anything new to add to what I and others have already posted. That's different from judging East End pizza.

                                    1. re: Eudoxus

                                      Judging: "I love the Diablita pizza at East End, but stick to the pizza: every soup I've had there has been disappointing."

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        Sounds like pretty valuable information to me. What is wrong with that exactly?

                                        1. re: Eudoxus

                                          Nothing wrong with it. It just doesn't add much to what's already been reported (in my judgement). And it's not precisely true: I've had some good experiences with dishes other than pizza. But it's on my corner -- I'm not going to post here every time I stop in for pizza.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Ruth - so no table pictures I suppose?

                                          2. re: Eudoxus

                                            My feeling is that for the CH community it is not about winning prizes -stars, rankings, whatever (for example, I've noticed surprisingly little discussion on CH about Tosca being named as Bon Appetit's #4 restaurant in the U.S. I suspect it is because CHers here don't care and/or don't believe it).

                                            That does not mean some degree of judgement and judging will not appear. Agreed, judging can provide some useful information.

                                            But I think for CHers, the food weighs much higher in the list of things to judge than ambiance, service, and price. And as far as the food, "fancy" is much less important than high quality, well prepared,interesting. "Interesting" can be broadly defined to cover "authenticity," ethnically under-represented, or novel preparation of standard ingredients, among other things.

                                            So I think the view here (if I may boldly speak for others) is not that Michelin stars are wrong (or at least not always) or uninformative, just that the attributes that Michelin looks for lead it to miss truely excellent restaurants. For example, I do not see Ran Kamon winning any Michelin star.

                          2. re: Eudoxus

                            I like places where the food is great. I don't care whether the masses have discovered it or not. Generally they have, word gets around fast.

                            I don't have anything to add to my anti-Michelin comments from last year:


                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                        Would you care to enlighten me as to how my response might qualify as 'trollish'?

                        1. re: ramenbound

                          ramenbound, I do not believe Melanie was referring to your response but she will certainly correct me if I am wrong.

                          1. re: Fowler

                            ramenbound - the 'trollish' comments Melanie referred to were deleted. while it looks as if she was remarking on yours in fact there were quite a few in between.

                          2. re: ramenbound

                            Apologies ramenbound, not saying your response was trollish. At the time I posted there were several responses that I was referring to that have since been deleted. In the few days since this thread was started, I've seen more than a dozen posts crop up that have been removed. There were probably even more than that.

                          3. re: Melanie Wong

                            can you be more specific like zagat etc I love michelin and been to French Laundry etcf

                            1. re: MarilynEfimoff

                              Marilyn, the whole point of the Chowhound site is to help people eat better and to rely on themselves instead of blindly following Zagat, Michelin, and other third parties. Take a look around here, read a few posts, and it may become clearer to you.


                              (I've been to the French Laundry twice and have eaten at many Michelin starred places here and in Europe. While enjoyable, they have not served the most delicious things I've ever eaten.)

                              1. re: Melanie Wong


                                So Michelin specifically misses the best places for you?

                                I would guess because they basically never look at hole-in-the-wall type places basically, where truly great things can often be found. But just out of curiosity, where have you had your most delicious things? =)

                                1. re: Eudoxus

                                  The Michelin book and viamichelin.com database include a lot of places that are frequently mentioned on this board. They just don't get stars.

                                2. re: Melanie Wong

                                  Honesty now compels me to admit that what mostly evolved with me is that instead of blindly following Zagat, Michelin, or other third parties... I now blindly follow Robert, Melanie, hyperbowler and the rest. In situations where I have no choice (like when I am in East County), I do Chowhound-ish things, but for the most part I first check to see what Chowhounds have said about the area -- and even in East County, if I notice a place that wintersweet has approved in that one thread, I'm like 80% more likely to check it out. Really I just swapped one set of palates for another.

                                  1. re: dunstable

                                    True but with chowhound you have the ability to learn other posters palates and use that information when deciding on a place to eat. You also have the advantage of asking them questions which you can't do with Zagat or Michelin. I find it similar to learning the palates of wine reviewers.

                            2. M.E., there's a semi-regular visitor here, Michael (a.k.a. uhockey) who travels around the country and abroad seeking michelin starred dining spots, and blogs about them. he could have a pretty fair estimation of how SF dining places align with the mish-rating system. you might get some answers for your quest if visit his blog [endoedibles.com] and ask for his thoughts on the matter.

                              11 Replies
                                1. re: MarilynEfimoff

                                  moto provided you with uhockey's blog address. can he/she have been any linkier?

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    "Linkier". I have added that to my personal dictionary. :-)

                                  2. re: moto

                                    Moto are you related to the venture in Chicago?

                                    1. re: MarilynEfimoff

                                      sorry have no idea what venture you are referring to ; have never resided near Chi nor been there longer than brief visits. more than a few of us here have had pleasant and straightforward interaction with Michael/uhockey when he's posted here -- his travels are diverse with a seemingly unlimited dining budget, and apparently he has a capacity for calories and sweets beyond most of us, so he offers a means to vicariously experience 'the rich life'. michelin stars could be considered part of all that.

                                        1. re: moto

                                          Marilyn - moto is just being shy. while it seems restaurateurs are OK here, they have to be circumspect about their own operations - (as in no shilling). this is why we like those who suggest and promote their competition over their own worthy endeavors.

                                          1. re: moto

                                            ...while I am honored you value my opinions (and my blog) I wish to clear up a few things. #1) my dining budget is far from unlimited, I merely live well within my means in other ways (car, home, expenses, luxuries) in order to travel and dine well. This isn't really topic for CH, but just making it known that my background is modest and those who've dined with me can attest to this. #2) The capacity thing...yeah...guilty as charged. Those who've dined with me will laughingly attest to this. #3) I do not specifically target Michelin spots - nor should anyone - it is a guide, just like Chowhound is a guide, just like Yelp is a guide. The most IMPORTANT thing is finding people whose palate matches your own - or as a friend of mine says - people with a 'like mouth' and letting their opinions guide you.

                                            For what it is worth, after my last meal at The French Laundry I'd put it in the single star category while I feel Saison should have had its third star last year.

                                            There are people who travel FAR more extensively than I and eat FAR more extravagantly than I. Unfortunately they opt not to share their time/opinions in a public forum, instead isolating themselves to a blog plus, perhaps, a local food board. For me, the chance to give restaurants I respect some good publicity to the Chowhound (or even Yelp) community while simultanously offering the good people of those sites some insight to help them avoid eating poorly is a lot of fun and I've met a lot of great people from both sites.

                                            1. re: uhockey

                                              thank you for your response. hope you understand no offense was intended with my hyperbole re. your circumstances. internet impressions of real people, both given and received, are often misleading as we all know. live long and prosper.

                                              1. re: moto

                                                No offense taken, as I said, glad you find it useful - I try to provide feedback to the people who help me dine well. :)

                                      1. "can you be more specific like zagat etc I love michelin and been to French Laundry etc"

                                        Several regulars already eloquently expressed what distinguishes a forum like this from those mainstream publications. I like JonDough's "the ability to learn other posters palates and use that information when deciding on a place to eat. You also have the advantage of asking them questions which you can't do with Zagat or Michelin."

                                        Zagat and Michelin direct people mainly to restaurants already well established. Especially Zagat (essentially a popularity poll). Once "everyone" knows about a restaurant, it shows well in popularity polls. Far less useful for spotting new-talent, up-and-coming, or new-approach restaurants.

                                        Michelin lacks Zagat's crowdsource weaknesses (of countless opinions from unknown background and experience), drawing each review instead from one or a few critics with formal food training, screened for certain reporting skills. However, if you limit your use of Michelin to just the "star" entries, you've again opted for the most well-established restaurants which is not the full picture, nor what everyone wants.

                                        A 1980s comment about the wine critic Robert Parker: Given two very similar wines of good quality, one reviewed by Parker and the other not, the main difference will be price: value for money. The horde bids up the price of whatever Parker tells them to buy, so the astute consumer is better off finding -- by some means -- wines of quality that were NOT reviewed by Parker.

                                        Chowhound is an example of "some means" for restaurant tips.