Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by marcus

  1. Sadly, the end of an era.
  2. I do understand your point of view. However, for me L'Impero has for a number of years been a primary touchstone restaurant, indicating whether I will find common ground with another person's opinions. I still have a strong recollection of spaghetti with a tomato basil sauce whose flavor was totally flat, and sliced venison, overcooked and with zero succulence.
  3. Another inconsistent and troubling US effort from Michelin, although there is improvement over 2006. I am reminded that in the past, it has taken Michelin about 4-5 years to get a new red guide mostly right, in Italy they have never gotten it right, however, in the process they have generally taken a low profile, awarding few stars, rather than the plethora of stars awarded in NY. It also seems clear, that on average, the NY ratings are pitched about one half star higher than they would be on the continent. In the plus column most particularly is the demotion of Danube, the most glaring mistake among the 2006 2-3 star selections, which has been downgraded to one star. Other changes in the one star area show a slight improvement, although adding A Voce, although not a bad restaurant, seems misguided. Devi, may possibly be the best Indian restaurant in NY, but I have eaten there a number of times, and always leave mildly disappointed. On the other hand, it is better than Tamarind, which continues to receive one star in London. I am pleased to see that L'Impero and Union Square Cafe, both in my view prime exemplars of NY mediocrity, despite many predictions, did not receive stars. However, there remain many odd inclusions. The most notable omission is arguably Sugiyama. One might make a case for Blue Hill, although I wouldn't, but to my taste, Hearth is a clear step below. It should also be noted, that reading between the Michelin lines, the food quality level for receiving 2 and 3 stars appears to be invariate, however, for one star, the category of the restaurant is a factor. This can be used as a justification for awarding a, in my opinion proper, star to Peter Luger. I have never eaten at the Spotted Pig, so I can't comment there, but it appears to be a similar situation. There is thus nothing inherently inconsistent in giving one star to both Craft and, for example, the Spotted Pig. Of interest are the 43 bib gourmand restaurants (under $40) introduced this year. I am familiar with somewhat more than half, and it's an odd collection of winners and losers. On the plus side are Cho Dang Gol and Saravanaas, my personal go to local restaurants when I am looking for authentic and savory asian ethnics. There are also interesting choices that show valid recognition of how NY is different than Europe, such as Katz's and NY Noodletown, which are so funky that they couldn't even get into those guides at all, let alone get a bib gourmand. There are also a number of good, if obvious choices, like Sripraphai, Pearl's, Mary's, etc. However, there are also: El Parador, Golden Unicorn, Home, Nyonya, Vatan, which are retro restaurants which long ago may have made a culinary statement, but have now been long since supassed by many newer and better arrivals. Blue Smoke and Dinosaur, only illustrate that NY does not have any good barbecue, and Jaiya, a Manhattan offshoot of the now defunct Queens restaurant, which never measured up to the original, is now so bad that I wouldn't have eaten the last meal that I had there for free.
  4. My guess is that based on decor, service and cleanliness, Katz's did not qualify even to receive a single spoon and fork, and was excluded from the guide on that basis. Whether one agrees or not, this is consistent Michelin guide methodology. The most famous example is l'Ami Louis which as far as I know has never been listed. The purported story is that Michelin considers the narrow steep staircase down to the restroom to be unacceptable.
  5. I have been a frequent user of the Michelin Red Guides since 1964, and I have been awaiting the New York guide with great anticipation. As I have been staring at the ratings, I find that my initial negative reaction is becoming somewhat tempered. On the plus side, they have made a substantial effort to be more flexible. Examples are Peter Luger, and I believe the Spotted Pig (never been). Giving Peter Luger a star, with its outstanding steak, but cardboard tomatoes, awful shrimp cocktail, mediocre sides and minimal deserts, represents a real departure for Michelin, and one that I applaud. I also applaud them for recognizing that the empires of Meyer, Nieporent, and Batali are not built on culinary distinction. On the negative side, they have allowed their desire to make an immediate marketing impact in New York compromise their historically conservative approach, and their standards. -In the past, Michelin has introduced the guide slowly, often no 3 star restaurants and few 1 and 2 star restaurants the first year. By the third or fourth year, they would have expanded the starred list, and have gotten things pretty much right, although one can make the case that they have never gotten it right in Italy. By jumping so aggressively into New York, they have made a number of clear mistakes, commission and omission, which may create a target for their detractors. Most glaring is Danube, which in my opinion barely deserves 1 star, if that. -By the standards of the European guides, the ratings are clearly inflated, I would estimate by one half star on average. For their existing user base, this may cause a significant negative reaction, with potential impact on their brand. As others have pointed out, Michelin is Eurocentric, and is weak in its ability to evaluate Asian restaurants, which for the NY high-end, particularly means Japanese restaurants. This is a universal problem, not specific to the NY guide. However, my bottom line is that despite any of the above, they have produced the best, by far, cuisine oriented list of the top 39 NY restaurants. They have largely penetrated beyond the hype, the cutting edge restaurant designs, the people scenes, and the places that offer solicitous service to insecure diners. For New Yorkers, and for visitors, this guide will be very useful to those who are focused on getting the best food available. It must be recognized that this is not a guide for those seeking the quintessential "New York" experience. To me, this has always come across as a justification for why less is more, why it's good to be crowded into a loud restaurant, where one is expected to eat quickly, and accept that one only VIPs and regulars are well treated. At the same time, looking at this list of top 39 creates a palpable sense of disappointment. Is this all that there is? Are any of these restaurants world class? Is New York a great restaurant city for serious dining? For me the answer is no.
  6. Just a few years ago, one of the major travel magazines rated it the best hotel in the world.
  7. There are many who believed that Crayeres had not deserved 3 stars for a number of years. I would describe this as a deferred demotion, waiting for Boyer's retirement, rather than a perfunctory one.
  8. I have to admit that I ate 100% of what was served to me at both Gagnaire and El Bulli, the difference being that I enjoyed Gagnaire's food much more. Although both of these places can be described as avant garde, I don't see any direct similarities. I would guess that any attempt to compare these restaurants directly would probably come out looking like a non-sequitor.
  9. A tightrope to be sure, but it is a question of where you draw the line. The key is that the actual ratings can't be compromised. They could, arguably, give him a heads up that ADNY is not measuring up at this time to their standard for 3 stars. It is well known that they used Daniel Boulud as a consultant for planning the NY guide to be issued later this year.
  10. Ducasse is known to have close ties to the Michelin organization which, as we know, is involved in a major evaluation of NY restaurants for their upcoming guide. I would speculate that it is input from Michelin, rather than anything by Bruni, who is a lightweight, which may have caused him to act.
  11. What people may be losing sight of, is that in the days before aquaculture and the depletion of the Atlantic salmon, Wild Atlantic salmon was considered a significantly superior food fish to the Pacific salmon, and sold for a premium, at least 15-20%. It was fatter and had a fuller and richer flavor, perhaps almost like prime beef as compared to choice. Even today, farmed Altlantic salmon has certain qualities that are superior to the Pacific salmon, although typically wild Pacific salmon does have significantly better overall flavor than any farmed version. However, we do need to keep in mind that comparing wild Pacific salmon to farmed Atlantic is not purely an apples to apples comparison. One can still find locally caught wild Atlantic salmon, in season, in certain restaurants in France, Les Pyrenees in St Jean Pied de Port in the French Basque country is an example, and it remains a revelation.
  12. I agree in part, also based on a single meal. The day that we had lunch there, a weekday in early June, the restaurant was largely empty, only 2 or 3 other tables. Everything was well prepared, but the food just didn't grab me in any way, and we had the specialties, the pumpkin filled pasta and their famous duck. On the other hand the service was extremely polished, even choreographed. I believe that it was technically the best service that I've ever seen at any restaurant, ever.
  13. I am a major disbeliever in Zagat, but the one rating that is credible is the popularity rating. Popularity, as opposed to Zagat's other ratings, is not an evaluation of a restaurant, but rather a statement that people are making about themselves. It is based on people listing their 5 favorite restaurants.
  14. Nobu has its ups and downs, but it is a serious restaurant, and the vast majority of people who go there are not looking for celebrities. I'd advise you to give it a try and then tell us what you think about it.
  15. I don't know of any fancy restaurant that pours anything near 5 ounces of vodka into a martini, there is very little vermouth. I think that would wipe out their customers, before they even start their meals. It would contain the alcohol equivalent of two thirds of a bottle of wine. The total volume of a martini, I don't know how large it is, contains some ice melt. I think that even 2.5 ounces of vodka plus vermouth would be generous. I'm sure that some of our bartenders could clarify this further. I do think that the economics will work out just fine.
  16. How about Gotham Bar and Grill? Once an interesting restaurant, but now a shadow of its former self.
  17. Well we must have very different taste, as I've eaten at Bern's a number of times and never thought that there steak was in the same ball park with any number of NY steak houses, let alone, Peter Luger. Most recently I've been ordering their pompano, which is somewhat better.
  18. Peter Luger is all about the steak, and no, there is no more to it than that. Some people like the bacon, but I don't. The homefries are decent and the hot fudge sunday is fun, but really the steak is the only reason to go. If great steak doesn't do it for you, then you are bound to be disappointed. People who fight for reservations at Luger's are not put off by the decor, which is really OK, but no better. For real steak lovers, it is the holy grail. The steak at Les Halles is 2-3 levels below Luger's, and rarely are these restaurants mentioned in the same breath.
  19. Gordon Ramsay RHR, the 3 star restaurant in London is a relentless turner of tables, they even inform you that you may have to vacate your table after 2 hours. This is extremely short for a restaurant of this caliber and style, yet Michelin seems to be willing to go along with this and still give them 3 stars.
  20. I doubt that Michelin cares about turning tables. Per Se turns more than half its tables and even ADNY is turning a few tables. If you see 5:30 reservations for ADNY on Open Table, it is because they have some late reservations and they think that they can fit another party at that table, if they are willing to come early. The reason that fine dining establishments don't turn tables in France is not because of principle, but because of the very short window that is available, which is dictated by public dining custom. These restaurants don't open until 7:30 or 8 and stop serving by 10 or 10:30. Virtually everyone arrives between 8 and 10 and of these, 75% arrive between 8:30 and 9:30.
  21. As a long time Michelin watcher, I will make a different prediction, Daniel, followed by Per Se and then ADNY and Jean Georges, depending on how many 3 star restaurants they want to create in their first year. Daniel has many of the characteristics of a 3 star, it is French and yet it is of NY. Michelin needs to demonstrate that it is au courant with the NY scene and not just a foreign interloper. Giving 3 stars uniquely to Ducasse would just be too politically incorrect. I believe that they can only get away with doing that if they name a minimum of 3 restaurants. Daniel may not really compare foodwise to the better French 3 stars, but if you look outside of France and Switzerland, particularly in Belgium and Italy, you can find 3 stars that are less good. Daniel is certainly better than the Waterside Inn outside London.
  22. I don't think Le Bernardin is even eligible, since they only serve seafood. That's why the original Le Bernardin had two stars. ← They also had no desert chef. They were serving primarily Berthillon ice cream. I don't think that their seafood format would prevent them from getting 3 stars. Their big problem is that they aren't that good.
  23. The paradors overal do not have a very good reputation for food, or service either, remember that these people are government employees, and what that means in Europe. However, the buildings and locations are often wonderful. My understanding is that they are trying to serve local dishes, and that the food is usually described as "correct", rather than inspired. The deluxe parador in Santiago de Compostela is reputed to have the best restaurant in the system. I have not eaten in their main restaurant, but did find their informal restaurant, at lunch, to be really very good. In general, you will do better by using one of the Spanish restaurant guides, Gourmetour or Campsa, Campsa is online, Gourmetour no longer, and going outside the parador to eat.
  24. Truffle omelet is really not a breakfast dish, and I doubt that you'll be able to find own at that time of day. The definitive truffle omelet is at the Beaugraviere in Mondragon, which is in the Dromme along the Rhone. Definitive list of Rhone wines as well. This is probably somewhat outside of your planned itinerary.
  • Create New...