New York Michelin Stars 2013

>>  Thursday, October 11, 2012

Untitled "Foie Gras" at Eleven Madison Park

It's official! The 2013 Michelin guide for New York City has just been released.

The Michelin Guide is a guide book published by Michelin (yes, the tire company) that reviews and rates outstanding restaurants around the world. It originated from France in 1900 and was pretty European-centric until 2005, when it published its first guide for the US (New York City, to be more specific). Since then, it has published guides in many cities, including Tokyo, San Francisco, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

According to the Michelin Guide, one star represents a restaurant that is "very good cuisine in its category".  Two-stars mean "excellent cuisine, worth a detour", and three stars are given to restaurants offering "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey". 
 Fried Asparagus with black truffle
 Cherry Belle Radishes and Miner’s Lettuce with Black Winter Truffle Mayonnaise at Per Se

There are some notable changes. Several newcomers came onto the list, such as two-star Atera and the following one-star places:  Blanca, Cafe China, The Nomad, Torrisi Italian Specialties, Lan Sheng, and Hakkasan.

I'm thrilled there are three Chinese restaurants on this list. Hakkasan, a high-end modern Chinese restaurant, is originally from London and hails from the creator of the Wagamama chain (also from London). Cafe China and Lan Sheng are both Sichuan restaurants in Midtown. Out of all the newcomers, Torrisi Italian Specialties is the only one I've tried, and I can definitely attest that the food there is excellent.
Untitled
Mosaic of Capon, Foie Gras, and Celery Root at Daniel

In terms of changes, the original chef of the shojin (temple) cuisine restaurant, Kajitsu, had left earlier this year. We visited Kajitsu right when the new chef had begun. Although it was a great dinner, we weren't blown away with the meal as much as we had hoped. It seems like the Michelin reviewers felt the same way, dropping it from a 2-star restaurant to a 1-star restaurant.

The three-star champions remain the same as last year.  Out of all those places, Daniel is my favorite in terms of overall experience (the service, food, and ambiance were all just perfect), while Le Bernardin is still my favorite when it comes to the food (love, love, love Eric Ripert's command of seafood).

Three Stars


Daniel
Per Se
Masa
Le Bernardin
Eleven Madison Park
Jean Georges
Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare
Untitled
Uni + Lardon at Marea

Two Stars


Corton
Gilt
Gordon Ramsey at The London
Marea
Momofuku Ko
Soto
Atera

The two star list is still pretty exclusive (such a far cry from Tokyo, which currently has fifty-seven two-star restaurants). I love the food at Marea, although I found the total experience at Momofuku Ko to be more unique, surprising, and overall more interesting and fun. It's not a surprise that a reservation is so difficult to procure.

One Star


Adour
Ai Fiori
Aldea
Annisa
Aquavit
Tasting Menu
Parallel Tasting at Aureole in Las Vegas (also 1 star)


Aureole [Vegas Aureole post]
A Voce Columbus
A Voce Madison
Blanca
Blue Hill
Bouley
The Breslin
Brushstroke
Cafe Boulud
Café China
Casa Mono
Danji
Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen

Bryan has eaten at way more of these 1-star establishments than I have. I know that he prefers Batali and Bastianich's B&B Ristorante to their 1-star New York establishment, Del Posto.  Neither Bryan or I  was particularly impressed with Aureole when we tried it in Vegas (even though it's also rated a 1-star there).


Del Posto
Dovetail
Dressler
15 East
Gotham Bar and Grill
Gramercy Tavern
Hakkasan
Jewel Bako
Jungsik
Junoon
Untitled
Somen noodles with Summer Cypress at Kajitsu (dropped from 2 stars to 1 star)


Kajitsu
Kyo Ya
Lan Sheng
Minetta Tavern
The Modern
The Nomad
Oceana

As I mentioned earlier, I guess I've only had the "1-star" version of Kajitsu because I tried it right when the new chef began. The experience was really interesting and the variety of plants and other ingredients was most definitely exotic. The entire meal just did not blow me away like I had hoped. Perhaps I need to visit Kyoto someday to get the true kaiseki or shojin ryori experience.
Untitled

Porterhouse for two at Peter Luger


 Peter Luger
Picholine - closed
Public
Rosanjin
Rouge Tomate
Saul
Seasonal
Spotted Pig
Sushi Azabu
Sushi of Gari
Tamarind Tribeca
Tori Shin

Peter Luger must be one of the few cash-only places on this list (interestingly, contrast that with Japan, where it's not unusual for 3-star Michelin establishments to ask that their $500+ meals be paid by cash). Of course, the steak at Peter Luger is fantastic and probably worth all that hassle (though Carnevino in Vegas is still our all-time favorite steak place),
roe and smoked fish
Trout Roe and Smoked Fish at Torrisi Italian Specialties (newly added to the list)


Torrisi Italian Specialties
Tulsi
Wallse
WD-50 [Wylie Dufresne]

We loved our meal at Torrisi Italian Specialties, and we haven't even had their famous 20-course dinner tasting. The lunch was excellent, though we still like Il Buco Alimentari's pasta a bit better, and (of course), nothing beats Rome and our favorite place there.

Thoughts
Although the Michelin Guide may not catch every great little hidden restaurant in a city, it does a good job of at least choosing excellent restaurants to feature. I've never had a bad meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and in general, I agree with their rankings. 3-star establishment tend to be better than 2-stars, which are better than 1-stars.
P1000200
Kampachi Tartare from Le Bernardin

However, I wouldn't just "Michelin-shop" when choosing where to eat in a new city. There are a ton of fantastic restaurants out there that have not been recognized by Michelin.  Heck, entire cities (Boston included!) have never been reviewed by the Guide. In general, it takes a lot more comprehensive research (my favorites are Chowhound boards, local newspaper reviews, local blogs, and confirmation by other "top restaurant" lists) to really get a complete picture of any one city.

Nevertheless, the Michelin Guide works great, especially if you're short on time (hello business traveler like Bryan!). Chances are, you'll enjoy an excellent meal if you eat at any establishment recommended by the Guide.

A note from our sponsors:
Of course it's fun to dine out in New York, but sometimes you'd prefer to have the food brought to you. Consider catering NYC for a change.

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