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Michelin NYC 2009 Rankings


Adrian3891
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Eater has just broken the 2009 Michelin NYC rankings and there are a few surprises (both good and bad):

- The big news is that it looks like Ko has been awarded two stars. It appears that Michelin is at least making some effort to try and "get" New York. Does this make Ko the most informal restaurant ever to bag a two star rating?

- Masa was bumped up to three stars. However, Kuruma was dropped from the starred list entirely, Yasuda did not garner a star, Jewel Bako and Gari retained their stars and Kyo Ya was awarded a star.

- Surprisingly, Babbo lost its star.

- Adour and Gilt were both awarded two stars. There were no demotions at the two or three star level except for Bouley which has been dropped for obvious reasons.

Here's the full list: http://eater.com/archives/2008/10/breaking...re_now.php#more

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Agreed. The only thing I can think of is that, extrapolating from posts in the EMP thread, the a la carte menu may be too inconsistent. But this does remain the most enduring mystery of the NYC Red Guide.

Baffled that Eleven Madison Park misses the cut again.

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Baffled that Eleven Madison Park misses the cut again.

And yet Jewel Bako retains its star.

I'm not surprised the devi lost its star, though Babbo's loss does surprise me.

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- The big news is that it looks like Ko has been awarded two stars.

My question is how the Michelin Guide reviewers managed to get in. :raz:

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Baffled that Eleven Madison Park misses the cut again.

Agreed. The only thing I can think of is that, extrapolating from posts in the EMP thread, the a la carte menu may be too inconsistent. But this does remain the most enduring mystery of the NYC Red Guide.

Mystery indeed. Come ON, Michelin. Not even 1*? Seriously?!

(That said, I'm happy to see Masa promoted. Still unsure how I feel about Ko getting 2 macarons, since I haven't been there yet.)

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I've put up a blog post showing the complete four-year history of the Michelin restaurant ratings in New York.

The big winners are Masa (promoted to ***) and Gilt (promoted to **). Both Adour and Momofuku Ko got ** in their first year of eligibility. Four restaurants got one star in their first year: Allen & Delancey, Eighty One, Insieme and Kyo Ya, the latter a restaurant that most critics missed. Alto was promoted to one star after a chef change. Public was promoted to one star for no good reason I can think of. Fiamma got back the star it temporarily lost when Michael White left.

The clear demotions were Babbo, Dévi, Kurumazushi and Vong, the latter long overdue. Bouley lost its stars because it's moving, and A Voce lost a star due to Carmellini's departure.

Eleven Madison Park remains the most perplexing omission.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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I was glad to see that inspectors noticed the great job Neil Fergusson (ex Ramsay at the London NYC) is doing in the LES - Allen&Delancey is still new, and already got a star. Good!

A little more info about the 09 guide, from a press release:

"The MICHELIN guide New York City 2009 also includes 74 restaurants serving a meal (two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert) for $25 or less. (...)

Also new for 2009, consumers will have the option to access the North American MICHELIN guide selections on their mobile phones through a licensing agreement with mobile application provider UBI UBI. "

The complete press release and list of starred restaurants is already here, on the Michelin site

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

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I really don't understand why the Michelin Guide in NY seems to have standards so different from its France and Italy guides, for example. Does anyone think newcomer restaurants would get ** in France? Does anyone think Momofuku Ko would get ** in the France Guide? And Del Posto--Its very inconsistent--some report great meals, many report mediocre meals. On one of my visits there ordering the bollito misto, I was told they didn't have it "maybe because its out of season?" speculated an uninformed waiter.

I know the NYT ratings can be controversial, but it still, to me, remains the gold standard in NY. The Michelin Guide just misses it so far--does anyone who lives in NY rely primarily on the Michelin Guide? I never did.

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I agree that giving Momofuku Ko 2 stars is an effort to show that inspectors "get" NY,

as Adrian3891 pointed out. David Chang is a media darling and new yorkers seem

to have gone totally gaga for Ko, regardless of how annoying it is to

try getting a table (I tried, and tried, and tried, and then gave up, and for

that reason I can't say whether the two stars are deserved or not).

As for the question "Does this make Ko the most informal restaurant

ever to bag a two star rating?", I would guess it is, yes, but to be

fair, in a way that

is noted in the guide, when they give it a rating of

one little black fork and knife (Daniel, for instance, gets 3 red ones,

meaning the place is posh and formal,

although surely the inspectors never even saw the

new decor and based rating on the old decor).

Edited by AlexForbes (log)

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

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I really don't understand why the Michelin Guide in NY seems to have standards so different from its France and Italy guides, for example.  Does anyone think newcomer restaurants would get ** in France?  Does anyone think Momofuku Ko would get ** in the France Guide?  And Del Posto--Its very inconsistent--some report great meals, many report mediocre meals. On one of my visits there ordering the bollito misto, I was told they didn't have it "maybe because its out of season?" speculated an uninformed waiter.

I know the NYT ratings can be controversial, but it still, to me, remains the gold standard in NY.  The Michelin Guide just misses it so far--does anyone who lives in NY rely primarily on the Michelin Guide?  I never did.

I think the Michelin ratings are considerably more reliable than those handed out by Frank Bruni over the least 4+ years. It's worth noting that the two you specifically disagree with (Del Posto and Momofuku Ko) got extremely favorable reviews from Bruni.

The other good thing about Michelin—though I'm not saying it's perfect—is the ability to revise its ratings every year. Gilt and Gordon Ramsay are still carrying the same ridiculous NYT two-star ratings that Bruni gave them under different chefs. A Voce is still carrying three NYT stars that are meaningless now that Carmellini is gone.

No, I don't think that any New Yorker relies primarily on the Michelin guide. But many restaurants, especially high-end restaurants, increasingly get a high percentage of their business from foreign visitors, who take the Michelin ratings far more seriously than any others.

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You make some good points, Oakapple. BTW, I wasn't saying I disgreed with Ko getting two stars--I haven't eaten there yet so can't judge. My only point was that I believe that had it recently opened in Paris, such a new restaurant would not be given two stars in the France Guide. Again a different standard.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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Let's remember that the Michelin NY includes many many many more restaurants, that just don't get any stars and therefore nobody really talks about in forums like this one.

As a non-New Yorker I can tell you that the Michelin is very respected by Brazilian travellers/foodies such as myself, and that yes, many of us do rely on it.

Especially when you are in New York and need a guide that fits in a purse for quick reference, which has all the info you need and is INDEPENDENT - the Time Out weighs a ton, I refuse to use the Zagat, and so the Michelin is by far the best choice. As for Bruni's reviews... well, I read them all, but they're not exactly portable unless you print them before travelling (a pain) or pull them up on your iPhone. In short: well-informed travellers will probably use the Michelin more than anything else when visitting NY.

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

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Let's remember that the Michelin NY includes many many many more restaurants, that just don't get any stars and therefore nobody really talks about in forums like this one.
Also, it's Michelin's position that just being listed in the guide is an honor. Whereas Bruni sometimes covers places to tell you they're bad, Michelin does not.
As for Bruni's reviews... well, I read them all, but they're not exactly portable unless you print them before travelling (a pain) or pull them  up on your iPhone. In short: well-informed travellers will probably use the Michelin more than anything else when visitting NY.

There are also many restaurants in the Guide that the Times has either never reviewed, or where the reviews are so many years old that they're practically meaningless.
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Baffled that Eleven Madison Park misses the cut again.

I've only eaten there once. If I had been a Michelin reviewer, they wouldn't have even been in the running for a star. Bad night, maybe. But it's all I have to go on. Bruni's review didn't correspond at all to my experience.

Notes from the underbelly

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But isn't it ultimately a problem for the stature of the Guide when the locals don't use the Michelin Guide but the tourists do? (Please don't respond that the locals don't need to consult a guide---they consult sources routinely).

I'm not trying to trash the Guide....but I am so struck at how the France Guide is taken as gospel but the NY version seems so different. Or is just my (mis)perception?

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But isn't it ultimately a problem for the stature of the Guide when the locals don't use the Michelin Guide but the tourists do?  (Please don't respond that the locals don't need to consult a guide---they consult sources routinely).

I'm not trying to trash the Guide....but I am so struck at how the France Guide is taken as gospel but the NY version seems so different. Or is just my (mis)perception?

I can't speak to what a French person thinks of the Guide, but Michelin has a decades-long track record there. It has been in New York for only four years. It would be quite surprising if Michelin were able to become the go-to guide for New Yorkers, given Zagat's long head start and the perception that the Guide is written by non-natives.
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As I and others have mentioned on this topic before, it seems like they really phone it in and can be VERY imcomplete beyond the two * level to some extent. Even more so with respect to Japanese food. There is absolutely no way to justify leaving Jewel Bako in the 1* category, and to leave out places like Yasuda, Soto, 15 East, etc. I dare say that Jewel Bako wouldn't currently make any sushi fan's top 10 list, let alone be the best sushi place in town other than Masa. They can't have been back to Jewel Bako in the last three years. I don't think there's any level of sushi expertise or lack thereof that could lead you to that conclusion. The removal of Kuruma's * is less surprising, as one hears mixed reports, and their service can vary according to ethnicity, their familiarity with a guest, etc. But it's an embarassment to their credibility to have Jewel Bako on there.

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Is it safe to say that it is not Michelin NY's goal to be COMPREHENSIVE whatsoever? If so, I really don't mind their list, I just don't use it.

They're not comprehensive, but who is?

Well, it seems like that they're being held to that standard. Because most of the chatter on here is why this or that restaurant wasn't included, or why a place like Jewel Bako still is. Maybe they just don't have the resources to keep up with world's penultimate culinary destination, 2nd only to Tokyo....

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As I and others have mentioned on this topic before, it seems like they really phone it in and can be VERY imcomplete beyond the two * level to some extent.
Actually, there are a number of surprising choices that suggest exactly the opposite. For instance, would someone "phoning it in" have come up with a star for Kyo Ya—a restaurant all of the major critics ignored? I have no idea whether Kyo Ya deserves its star, since I've never been there. I am just pointing out that it's clearly not a choice that someone "phoning it in" would have come up with.
There is absolutely no way to justify leaving Jewel Bako in the 1* category, and to leave out places like Yasuda, Soto, 15 East, etc.
I happen to agree with you about Yasuda and Soto. But I would venture a guess that if anybody made a similar list with 42 restaurants on it (that's the number of places with stars this year), there'd be a number of them that some people take issue with. It's funny to read the Eater thread, where various people opine on which missing or included restaurants invalidate the list. For Mimi Sheraton, it's La Grenouille. For another, it's Union Square Café; still another says Chanterelle.
They're not comprehensive, but who is?

Well, it seems like that they're being held to that standard. Because most of the chatter on here is why this or that restaurant wasn't included, or why a place like Jewel Bako still is. Maybe they just don't have the resources to keep up with world's penultimate culinary destination, 2nd only to Tokyo....

I thought you were talking about which places are listed, not which ones have stars. We tend to focus on the places with stars, but the restaurants listed (without stars) is much, much longer. And that list is much more volatile, with restaurants coming on and being dropped every year. I mean, it's pretty obvious that they've got a good-size staff doing this, and not just replicating the foodie consensus.
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As I and others have mentioned on this topic before, it seems like they really phone it in and can be VERY imcomplete beyond the two * level to some extent.
Actually, there are a number of surprising choices that suggest exactly the opposite. For instance, would someone "phoning it in" have come up with a star for Kyo Ya—a restaurant all of the major critics ignored? I have no idea whether Kyo Ya deserves its star, since I've never been there. I am just pointing out that it's clearly not a choice that someone "phoning it in" would have come up with.

A fair point on the surface of things. But I think I was a bit incomplete in expressing exactly what I meant, as it was stated ages ago in last year's Michelin thread. It often seems like they intentionally pick a few "surprise" or "obscure" places (just as they did with Spotted Pig the first year and Dressler in the last survey) to give the (I believe false) impression of really having their fingers on the city's pulse and having been to more restaurants than they have. However, when you look at things overall, the reality seems to be that they are really late to update many of their reviews. And many of their choices (and some of the information contained in the prose of the book) below the 2 star level make it clear they haven't been to some of the places in ages. If I were cynical and skeptical, I would say they ask around what some of their friends favorite under the radar places are, and just visit enough of them to have a few of these "insider" places on the star listings.

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