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Guide Michelin comes to NY


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I also get the impression that ADNY and Per Se seem to be considered neck and neck, if you will.

There is no doubt that those two restaurants are the most serious contenders. I am not too familiar with the history behind the awarding of Michelin stars but isn't it rare (or impossible) to see a restaurant receive three stars less than two years into its opening? Could this be a factor in not awarding three stars to Per Se?

It is rare.

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As the guide itself is new, it's going to be difficult to suggest it should pay attention to a restaurant's history before the guide intself arrived on the scene. As far as Michelin should be concerned, all restaurants have been cooking only as long as they've been visited by Michelin inspectors. It's different in France and it will be different in NY years from now.

i think the thing that hurts places like daniel and bouley is that they do to many covers. Michelin has a thing that when you sit down the table is yours for the evening. Not to many places do that so it will be very interesting to see how michelin deals with that aspect of new york.

Does Michelin have such a thing or is it just that at a level far below three stars, it's unusual for a French restaurant to turn tables. It's obvious that Per Se and ADNY are everyone's pict as top contenders if only because of prices and the fact that they don't turn tables, but I'm not sure that's near as relevant as glassware or service to a three star rating.

Having recently had both the tasting menu at Per Se and the eight course tasting menu at Daniel in reasonably close proximity, I have to say that I didn't see a clear winner in terms of food. If anything I was rooting for Per Se as the two people I was closest to in the Daniel kitchen are no longer cooking there and I was kind of secretly hoping their absence would be noticeable. It really wasn't. There was a shift in style, but Daniel Boulud is a restless chef and never content with his fare. His food has always been evolving.

That evening, three of us got a total of 24 different courses all at a consistent level of excellence. Daniel's ability to do that for a table is legendary. His tasting menu is never set for the whole restaurant. It is a tour de force that makes its size a positive factor. Many of the courses were simply better than similar courses at Per Se. On the other hand, Per Se has some spectacular dishes whose simplicity belies their impact. What I sense is that even if other people would agree with my finding on this score, Per Se gets the nod from many, not because it's tasting menu is better, but because it doesn't offer an inexpensive (hundred dollar) menu. Moreover, it gets that nod from people outside NY who haven't eaten at either one. I'm not sure that's the product of the most sophisticated reasoning.

Tony is correct to note Michelin's built in audience among travelers from Europe, South America and Asia as well as among American's who have come to rely, maybe too much, on Michelin as a standard all over Europe. Pan's comments on the current respect, or lack thereof, shown to the NY Times ratings makes it not so unlikely that New Yorkers will begin speaking in terms of a one, two and three star classification with the Times taking a back seat with it's inflated stars. On the other hand, I'm expecting the Times to do some major and overdue revamping of its restaurant reviewing with, or without the appearance of Michelin.

Part of our job will be to determine who gets the most respect. :rolleyes:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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chopjwu12,

Daniel does turn tables, but, unlike Bouley, they do not routinely overbook. While I have waited HOURS for a table at Bouley, I have never waited more than a few minutes for a table at Daniel. I suspect that the inspectors will be hard on restaurants that fail to honor reservations.

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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.

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Were I a betting man, I'd say that both ADNY and Per Se will get three stars. But even setting aside all the political considerations (which I think will trump considerations of merit), since Michelin has not articulated the actual standards it will use, it's hard to predict which restaurant or restaurants will get three stars. What we can probably do is make a series of if...then statements, for example:

If Michelin leans towards French three-star standards then ADNY and Per Se are the only two serious candidates for three stars. As between the two of them, ADNY is more along the lines of the French model, so under this set of assumptions ADNY would be first in line.

or

If Michelin means what it says about the primacy of food, then the field really opens up and Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, Daniel and several other restaurants (Bouley and Danube come to mind -- nobody cooks more like Joel Robuchon than David Bouley) need to be looked at seriously as candidates for best food. Not to mention, there are some serious contenders in the Japanese restaurant community.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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someone brought that up to me actually about japanese places. Thats going to be interesting.

Well my friend who is formerly of ducasse paris has this as his list. Per se hopefully adny with three. Then daniel and we aren't sure about anythign else. He sais that turning tables is a huge deal to michelin those are his words. Now theres a difference between turnign tables and turning tables. When i say a restaurant turns tables i mean they push people in and out. A restaurant can turn tables and not cause a problem.

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I don't know why I assumed Per Se and ADNY did not turn tables, especially as I've heard people say they had a 5:30 reservation at Per Se. I should think it's obvious that table will be used again. I trust Marcus is correct. Whatever a restaurant does that doesn't affect the diner's meal shouldn't make a bit of difference in the rating. A few open tables during the evening, even at prime time doesn't mean the restaurant isn't fully booked. It may just mean they're cautiously erring on the conservative side. As for chopjwu's friend, a lot of people think they know what makes other people tick. Even if he's right about how they look at Parisian restaurants, it doesn't mean they won't adapt their standards to local custom.

We've had the great thread, maybe more than once, about how Michelin's success in France is tied to the fact that the French have so well, and for so long, held onto a single ideal of "restaurant" that it makes it easy to compare them all on the same scale. That's less been the case in the US and it's changing in France as well.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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He sais that turning tables is a huge deal to michelin those are his words. Now theres a difference between turnign tables and turning tables. When i say a restaurant turns tables i mean they push people in and out. A restaurant can turn tables and not cause a problem.

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.

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He sais that turning tables is a huge deal to michelin those are his words. Now theres a difference between turnign tables and turning tables. When i say a restaurant turns tables i mean they push people in and out. A restaurant can turn tables and not cause a problem.

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.

Wow, 2 hours? That's like an appetizer and a main course. Not enough time for me. Or am I just a slow eater? :huh:

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thats amazing to me that they would allow that. if i sat down for a meal and they told me i had to be out in 2 hours well my answer wouldn't be pleasant to say the least.

To bux i agree its going to be interesting how they rate our restaurants compared to france. Its goign to be extremely interesting.

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For those interested, Francois Simon wrote an Op Ed piece in yesterday's New York Times that while using the New York edition of the Red Guide as a "peg," pretty much rehashes the opinions expressed in his articles in Le Figarofrom last week.

An exquisitely aristocratic diatribe and, for non-francophones, well worth retrieving from the NYT website before it starts costing money.

John Whiting, London

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I scoured the site for comments on Francois Simon's article in the Times yesterday on the NYC Michelin Guide. Did I miss any posts? Are all you " New York is the Restaurant Capital of the World" adherents going to let him get away with his saying in both a few and in so many words that NYC restaurant produce leaves something to be desired and if the raters will take this into account?

Moderator's comment: We've moved a couple of posts over from the France forum, so they now appear as posted before Robert Brown's post. These were not posted in this topic when Robert made his post, although they bear an earlier time stamp.

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Interesting op-ed piece. In addition to repeating the same arguments he was quoted as making in Paris a week or two ago.

Francois Simon had an article (which I suspect was “in the can” for release next week) about putting the release of the Michelin 2005 in perspective.  First, he notes that while its release in gastronomic circles is a big deal, for most folks, it’s used for the maps, coordinates, “Bib Gourmands” and hotel info.  Second, the Michelin is no longer the law, French food and it are a bit diminished.  Third, it’s sort of like advice from your old aunt, what’s reflected there was known by everyone in the know, except the Micheliners, for quite a while (e.g. that the Freres Pourcel did not deserve three stars but Regis Marcon did).  Fourth, geopolitics: Michelin’s head says “we only judge the food” but often the places that are technically good are boring. . . .

he goes on to express a wish for the Red Guide to rejuvenate itself in NY, but I'm not sure he believes there's any hope of that as our asparagus has no taste and our best chefs serve truffles out of season.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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From the article

How is it going to react to those expensive restaurants that focus more on looks (catering to their nouveau riche diners) than on how their food tastes?
For us in France, that would be very good news. For here, the guide bores us with its bourgeois assurance, its opportunistic elevations.

:laugh: Only old money has taste?

The article doesn't really say much of anything. Typical French. :biggrin:

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Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

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I'm confused by the repeated quotation of this phrase by the editor: "The stars reflect only what's on the plate."

Now, I must be confused, as I thought the forks and knives were the reflection of "what's on the plate." On my last perusal of the Red Guide for France, there seemed to be a number of 5 "fork-and-knife" restaurants that garnered only one star, while I noticed a few of the three stars only had two or three "fork-and-knife" ratings. I though the star system was based on the overall quality of the restaurant - the service, the room, the floral arrangements, the exquisiteness of perfumes to be found in the ladies' WC, etc.

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I'm confused by the repeated quotation of this phrase by the editor: "The stars reflect only what's on the plate."

Now, I must be confused, as I thought the forks and knives were the reflection of "what's on the plate." On my last perusal of the Red Guide for France, there seemed to be a number of 5 "fork-and-knife" restaurants that garnered only one star, while I noticed a few of the three stars only had two or three "fork-and-knife" ratings. I though the star system was based on the overall quality of the restaurant - the service, the room, the floral arrangements, the exquisiteness of perfumes to be found in the ladies' WC, etc.

You have been misreading the guide, although I suspect you may not have been reading it, but reading about it as it's clearly explained in the front.

The stars refer to the quality of the cuisine. Typically, two and three star ratings are absolute ratings while one star is generally acknowledged to be good in its category or area. The forks and spoons (there are no knives depicted) are strictly a reference to the luxury of the setting and, service and to the comfort. The stars are an indication of the the quality cuisine I might expect. The number of forks might suggest whether I wear a jacket and tie for instance. Nevertheless that third star does imply that everything will be faultless, not just the food. Still you will find restaurants with two stars that are more elegant and more expensive than others with three stars. Presumably the food is better at the three star restaurant however.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 2 months later...

When does the guide get published guys?

And as the title says who will be the winners? Will it be a good thing? Are the chefs taking it seriously?

Cheers

Paul

Moderator's Note: This post was merged with this preexisting thread.

I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'

Tommy Cooper

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And as the title says who will be the winners?

Guide Michelin first needs to answer the existential question whether their rating system needs any fine tuning for the New York market. Does a restaurant get three stars here only if the identical restaurant would get three stars in Paris, or is the system tweaked to suit the local market? Same question for one and two stars.

I would guess that, to be seen as credible, the guide needs to award the top ranking to at least 2-4 restaurants. The current NYT four-stars obviously are candidates, along with ADNY, and perhaps a couple of other places with comparable aspirations (Bouley, Chanterelle).

The Guide will have a lot more credibility than the current NYT ratings, and I suspect there will be some bragging rights at stake. For example, suppose Le Bernardin is awarded three stars, but Daniel and Jean Georges only two. That's only an example, not a prediction.

Will it be a good thing?

I think it will be a good thing, because it will encourage further competition and a striving for excellence at the top end. There is, of course, a faction here that opposes restaurant ratings. To them, it will not be a good thing, no matter what the ratings turn out to be.

Are the chefs taking it seriously?

I suspect that the chefs at the restaurants mentioned above are very aware of the Michelin inspectors. These restaurants make a lot of money from international tourism. Being able to hang a few Michelin stars on their shingle will have a real impact.

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  • 4 months later...

In today's New York Post restaurant column, Zagat Seeing Stars, Steve Cuozzo talks about next month's arrival of the New York Michelin guide. He hopes that Michelin will knock the 2006 Zagat guide (which debuts next week) out of its complacency.

The Michelin Guide will cover 500 restaurants, to Zagat's 1,700. Of course, Zagat covers Per Se and Starbucks as if they were comparable, while one presumes the Michelin Guide will be limited to upper-echelon restaurants. Still, Cuozzo assures us that Michelin won't be as elitist as its European counterparts:

Michelin's New York "red book" will little resemble the European ones with their indecipherable blizzard of stars, forks and hieroglyphics. It will cover 500 spots in all five boroughs, with fuller descriptions and color photos. The Michelin people say the splashy edition will be the prototype for a new generation of European guides. Maybe it will shock Zagat out of its fog, too.

It's easy to poke fun at Zagat. Says Cuozzo, "Weary haunts like Felidia – even Lombardi's pizza – are preposterously ranked among today's best." But all forms of restaurant media are open to mistakes. Just a few weeks ago, as he declared the end of the restaurant review as we know it, Cuozzo listed a few of his own howlers.

Cuozzo admitted the Zagat guide has its uses, although he's hopeful that "Michelin – spiffily retooled and redesigned for the New York market – finally offers a real alternative."

No word yet on which restaurants have won the coveted stars. Mario Batali is confident that there will be at least some three-star restaurants in New York. As he told the UK Observer last week, "'If there were no three-stars, Michelin wouldn't come."

Edited by oakapple (log)
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It would be nice to see Maguy Le Coze finally get her third star for Le Bernardin. The only other restaurants I can think of that might compete for a three-star rating would be Masa and Babbo. If Thomas Keller was in the kitchen at all times I think Per Se would get three, but as it stands, I'd imagine they're looking at two. And ADNY has had too many staff changes recently to warrant three stars, even though I've heard that the current regime is worth of it. (Maybe in next year's edition?)

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It would be nice to see Maguy Le Coze finally get her third star for Le Bernardin. The only other restaurants I can think of that might compete for a three-star rating would be Masa and Babbo.  . . .

While I've had nothing but excellent food and service at le Bernardin, I hardly think it's in a class of its own. Certainly Daniel and Jean Georges have given it competition for years. ADNY and Per Se are newer arrivals, but with a difference. I believe neither of them turn tables. That alone could make the difference between two and three stars in the minds of Michelin.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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ADNY and Per Se are newer arrivals, but with a difference. I believe neither of them turn tables. That alone could make the difference between two and three stars in the minds of Michelin.

Per Se turns tables. Their earliest reservation is at 5:45pm. The people they seat at 5:45 are out early enough to do a second seating at those tables. Now, if you get a premium reservation at Per se (say, 7:30pm), then the table is yours for the night.

I believe ADNY turns tables too, although less often, since the demand isn't as great.

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It would be nice to see Maguy Le Coze finally get her third star for Le Bernardin. The only other restaurants I can think of that might compete for a three-star rating would be Masa and Babbo. If Thomas Keller was in the kitchen at all times I think Per Se would get three, but as it stands, I'd imagine they're looking at two. And ADNY has had too many staff changes recently to warrant three stars, even though I've heard that the current regime is worth of it. (Maybe in next year's edition?)

I love Babbo, but there is no way it is going to get three Michelin stars. As we discussed at great length after Bruni's early review it is just not the right style to earn four NYT stars, much less three Michelin stars. That isn't what it aspires to be and unless I either misunderstand the Michelin system or they change their standards a whole lot for the US market aspirations and style mean a lot.

Bill Russell

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