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Michelin NYC 2008 Rankings Announced


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The Michelin 2008 Guide is out. The press release is here.

The three-star restaurants are the same as last year: Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, and Per Se.

Bouley, Daniel, Del Posto, and Masa retain two stars. Joining them are Gordon Ramsay at The London (!!) and Picholine.

Per the BruniBlog:

The new one-star retaurants are Anthos, Blue Hill, Dressler, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Gilt and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. JoJo retrieved a star it had lost last year. In perhaps the the biggest surprise, Craft lost its one star, along with Fiamma, La Goulue and Lever House.

And these restaurants retained one star: Annisa, Aureole, A Voce, Babbo, Café Boulud, Café Gray, Country, Cru, Danube, Dévi, Etats-Unis, Fleur de Sel, Gotham Bar & Grill, Gramercy Tavern, Jewel Bako, Kurumazushi, The Modern, Oceana, Perry St., Peter Luger, Saul, Spotted Pig, Sushi of Gari, Veritas, Vong, Wallsé, wd~50.

It will be interesting to see if these results prompt a re-evaluation of Gordon Ramsay, as every other restaurant with two Michelin stars has at least three NYT stars. I am assuming that Fiamma lost its star because the chef departed, and there wasn't sufficient time to evaluate his replacement. There really are no other surprises, aside perhaps from Dressler, which didn't impress me the one time I visited.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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I agree; EMP should be in the mix with at least 1. Some of their rankings are just so far off base based on my own experience that I just don't view them, as a whole, credible. As an example, I was telling a friend of mine who's well known in food/wine writing a story about poor service at Spotted Pig, and how it was well below what one should expect for a Michelin * restaurant. He replied, "Oh, its not a 1 star." (By that he meant 'everyone knows it doesn't deserve a star;' of course, in reality he knew it had a star).

I just don't get some of their rankings.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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The absence of Eleven Madison Park was remarked on last year. I agree that it's the most conspicuous absence, but for the most part, I think the list is far more accurate than not. I don't really need a foreign guide to help me select restaurants, but if I were advising a visitor, I'd say that Michelin is a whole lot more dependable than Frank Bruni or Zagat.

Note that the definition of one star is "very good in its category," so the inspectors are not saying that Spotted Pig is better than EMP in the absolute sense. Whether Spotted Pig deserves its star at all is a whole other matter.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Jewel Bako and not Yasuda?????????????

Unchanged from last year.

yeah...but last year Jewel Bako was a year less into its decline.

Michelin must have sat at the tables and not at Yasuda's bar! :laugh:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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yeah...but last year Jewel Bako was a year less into its decline.

... but 3 years into it...

The 3 sushi bars they list are a top 3, a top 20, and a top 40 sushi bar, and their selections seem completely arbitrary to me, from a food perspective. I'd say Jewel Bako was there because it had more elegant, western-style service, but there's Kurumazushi staring me in the face, which from my recollection, employs traditionally sparse service (sushi bars use very few people FOH but I still think Japanese restaurants offer some of the best an attentive service of all)

Edited by raji (log)
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And he makes the now common mistake of assuming that two restaurants, each with one star, are considered by Michelin to be at the same level.

And he also makes the mistake of asserting that Michelin stars do not take price into account. The press release says that "value for money" is part of the rating system.

Bruni points out several ratings that seem like anomalies to him, while ignoring the biggest one of all: the two stars for Gordon Ramsay at The London.

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The 3 sushi bars they list are a top 3, a top 20, and a top 40 sushi bar....

I assume you're saying that Kurumazushi is top 3, Gari is top 20, and Jewel Bako top 40? So, you're saying there are 19 places better than Gari? I don't think so.

I can't agree or disagree about Jewel Bako, as I've not tried it, but as noted above, Michelin doesn't claim that every restaurant with one star is equivalent in the absolute sense.

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The 3 sushi bars they list are a top 3, a top 20, and a top 40 sushi bar....

I assume you're saying that Kurumazushi is top 3, Gari is top 20, and Jewel Bako top 40? So, you're saying there are 19 places better than Gari? I don't think so.

I can't agree or disagree about Jewel Bako, as I've not tried it, but as noted above, Michelin doesn't claim that every restaurant with one star is equivalent in the absolute sense.

well..."Gari is top 20" could just mean "there are 10 places better than Gari" (though I agree that a more accurate statement is probably "Gari is top 10 and JB top 20")

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Bruni points out several ratings that seem like anomalies to him, while ignoring the biggest one of all: the two stars for Gordon Ramsay at The London.

hmm...GR would seem to be a prototypical Michelin two-star

I'm referring to the inconsistency between Michelin's rating of the restaurant and Bruni's rating of it. Yes, of course GR was designed to be a two or three-star Michelin restaurant. But it was also designed to be a three or four-star NYT restaurant, and that didn't happen.
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The Michelin Guide adds one star and subtracts another.

“We rarely find anyone who can say he has lived a happy life, and who, content with his life, can retire from the world like a satisfied guest.” ~ VIRGIL

Last month I read Nicholas Chelminski’s engrossing account of the rise and tragic fall of Bernard Loiseau, The Perfectionist. The narrative carefully details all points on the inverted curve which represented the life course of an elite French chef. When does growth threaten to destroy the very soul that makes a business highly successful? Loiseau was a chef totally permeated by the demands of his vocation, consumed by the goal of obtaining the coveted Michelin 3 stars and never wanting to exist in this world without the highest esteem from his clientele, journalists, and confrères. He came to the mortal realization in the last month’s of his life that the mills of the gods were grinding relentlessly and that all his protean efforts would soon be terminated—by his own grievous self-inflicted action. Recalling the wisdom of T.S. Eliot, “In my beginning is my end.” How poignantly true that had been of Loiseau!

Now we are informed of the demerited ranking of Colicchio, concomitant with the higher positioning of Gordon Ramsey in the New York culinary firmament. Michelin freely giveth les étoiles—and extinguishes them with equal suddeness. Is excellence in any field of endeavor worth the irredeemable costs imposed by such unrealistic levels of anxiety? You can only be Promethean for so long, before the consensus is that you’re suffering from an obsessive personality disorder. Psychotherapist Dr. Jay B. Rohrlich (NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Hospital) stated in one of his books that "work-addicted people remain perfectionistic, and they fruitlessly persist in their obsessions with mastery and control. They experience imperfection, Elliot Jacques notes, 'as bitter, persecuting failure.' They cannot transcend imperfection by accepting it; instead, they feel defeated by it."

Thankfully, this grim fate is not definitional of the career of every chef & restaurateur.

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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The 3 sushi bars they list are a top 3, a top 20, and a top 40 sushi bar....

I assume you're saying that Kurumazushi is top 3, Gari is top 20, and Jewel Bako top 40? So, you're saying there are 19 places better than Gari? I don't think so.

I can't agree or disagree about Jewel Bako, as I've not tried it, but as noted above, Michelin doesn't claim that every restaurant with one star is equivalent in the absolute sense.

well..."Gari is top 20" could just mean "there are 10 places better than Gari" (though I agree that a more accurate statement is probably "Gari is top 10 and JB top 20")

Yeah, I was being intentionally nebulous, but you're both right, Gari deserves better and top 10 and top 20 is probably a more accurate statement... so, my bad. But if the 2008 guide includes openings of 2007, then Gari is probably pretty close to #10 and JB #20. That said, I doubt the Michelin reviewers actually visited numbers 1 through 20, and they seemed to have focused in on a few of the more popular places and the selection of those 3 sill seems completely arbitrary.

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my impression is that Michelin looks more favorably on "safe", conservative, competently executed food than does the Brunster...

We really don't know how GR changed after Josh Emett replaced Neil Ferguson. I haven't found a single review from a respected source that post-dates Ferguson's departure. Emett says the changes were considerable.

Even supposing that GR under Emett is still "safe, conservative, competent" (i.e., boring), I don't see a lot of evidence for that kind of bias in the Michelin ratings. Note, for instance, the complete absence of places like Chanterelle and La Grenouille in the ratings. And aside from GR, all of the Michelin 2 and 3-star restaurants correlate in a fairly predictable way with the NYT rankings.

By the way, I'm not carrying a torch for Ramsay, as my own visit there (within weeks after it opened) isn't recent enough to be relevant. I'm just noting that the two ratings are clearly not consistent. I think Michelin's rating is more likely to be correct, partly because this is a class of restaurant that's squarely within their expertise (and squarely ouside of Bruni's), partly because their rating is simply the more current one.

But I thought it was notable that Bruni entirely ducked the issue in his blog post.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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my impression is that Michelin looks more favorably on "safe", conservative, competently executed food than does the Brunster...

We really don't know how GR changed after Josh Emett replaced Neil Ferguson. I haven't found a single review from a respected source that post-dates Ferguson's departure. Emett says the changes were considerable.

Even supposing that GR under Emett is still "safe, conservative, competent" (i.e., boring), I don't see a lot of evidence for that kind of bias in the Michelin ratings. Note, for instance, the complete absence of places like Chanterelle and La Grenouille in the ratings. And aside from GR, all of the Michelin 2 and 3-star restaurants correlate in a fairly predictable way with the NYT rankings.

I was actually speaking to Michelin's international reputation (with possibly the exception of the Spain guide) for certain dining preferences....a much broader scale than merely NY.

It's true that I know nothing about GR under Emett.

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my impression is that Michelin looks more favorably on "safe", conservative, competently executed food than does the Brunster...

We really don't know how GR changed after Josh Emett replaced Neil Ferguson. I haven't found a single review from a respected source that post-dates Ferguson's departure. Emett says the changes were considerable.

Even supposing that GR under Emett is still "safe, conservative, competent" (i.e., boring), I don't see a lot of evidence for that kind of bias in the Michelin ratings. Note, for instance, the complete absence of places like Chanterelle and La Grenouille in the ratings. And aside from GR, all of the Michelin 2 and 3-star restaurants correlate in a fairly predictable way with the NYT rankings.

I was actually speaking to Michelin's international reputation (with possibly the exception of the Spain guide) for certain dining preferences....a much broader scale than merely NY.

It's true that I know nothing about GR under Emett.

I've never gotten that impression at all. I think Bruni prefers FAR more conservative restaurants (steakhouses, Italian) than Michelin. There are a lot of avant garde restaurants in France and elsewhere that have Michelin stars. Have you forgotten that Bruni killed Gilt?

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my impression is that Michelin looks more favorably on "safe", conservative, competently executed food than does the Brunster...

We really don't know how GR changed after Josh Emett replaced Neil Ferguson. I haven't found a single review from a respected source that post-dates Ferguson's departure. Emett says the changes were considerable.

Even supposing that GR under Emett is still "safe, conservative, competent" (i.e., boring), I don't see a lot of evidence for that kind of bias in the Michelin ratings. Note, for instance, the complete absence of places like Chanterelle and La Grenouille in the ratings. And aside from GR, all of the Michelin 2 and 3-star restaurants correlate in a fairly predictable way with the NYT rankings.

I was actually speaking to Michelin's international reputation (with possibly the exception of the Spain guide) for certain dining preferences....a much broader scale than merely NY.

It's true that I know nothing about GR under Emett.

I've never gotten that impression at all. I think Bruni prefers FAR more conservative restaurants (steakhouses, Italian) than Michelin. There are a lot of avant garde restaurants in France and elsewhere that have Michelin stars. Have you forgotten that Bruni killed Gilt?

we're using "conservative" in different senses. see how Bruni treated Ssam Bar compared to how Michelin did. also see Bruni's three stars for Bar Room or his two stars for both Sripaphai and S&T.

I also don't think that Michelin is really THAT friendly to avant garde....there are some Michelin starred avant garde restaurants in Europe because there are a lot of avant garde restaurants in Europe with two and three star service models.

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my impression is that Michelin looks more favorably on "safe", conservative, competently executed food than does the Brunster...

We really don't know how GR changed after Josh Emett replaced Neil Ferguson. I haven't found a single review from a respected source that post-dates Ferguson's departure. Emett says the changes were considerable.

Even supposing that GR under Emett is still "safe, conservative, competent" (i.e., boring), I don't see a lot of evidence for that kind of bias in the Michelin ratings. Note, for instance, the complete absence of places like Chanterelle and La Grenouille in the ratings. And aside from GR, all of the Michelin 2 and 3-star restaurants correlate in a fairly predictable way with the NYT rankings.

I was actually speaking to Michelin's international reputation (with possibly the exception of the Spain guide) for certain dining preferences....a much broader scale than merely NY.

It's true that I know nothing about GR under Emett.

I've never gotten that impression at all. I think Bruni prefers FAR more conservative restaurants (steakhouses, Italian) than Michelin. There are a lot of avant garde restaurants in France and elsewhere that have Michelin stars. Have you forgotten that Bruni killed Gilt?

we're using "conservative" in different senses. see how Bruni treated Ssam Bar compared to how Michelin did. also see Bruni's three stars for Bar Room or his two stars for both Sripaphai and S&T.

I also don't think that Michelin is really THAT friendly to avant garde....there are some Michelin starred avant garde restaurants in Europe because there are a lot of avant garde restaurants in Europe with two and three star service models.

Both Bruni and Michelin have their paradigms :wink: . I do think, however, that Michelin values culinary creativity much more than Bruni - at least that is the impression I get from reading Bruni. Bruno is conservative when it comes to food even if he is somewhat populist when it comes to non-directly food related aspects of dining. Perhaps someone more familiar with him and his ouvre might have a different impression, but that is what I get.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Both Bruni and Michelin have their paradigms :wink: . I do think, however, that Michelin values culinary creativity much more than Bruni - at least that is the impression I get from reading Bruni. Bruno is conservative when it comes to food even if he is somewhat populist when it comes to non-directly food related aspects of dining. Perhaps someone more familiar with him and his ouvre might have a different impression, but that is what I get.

Yeah, that's my sense as well. Michelin obviously doesn't look outside their service model, but their rankings reflect a wider variety of food tastes. Bruni is only one man with one perspective- and it's not one of culinary adventurousness.

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