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Michelin Guide to New York est arrivé!


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I agree If Michelin is the Rolls Royce of eating guides they should have been more efficient. Ofcourse its all subjective but if the Spotted Pigs and Goulues were to be granted a star then open this category up and include the other 200 that far exceed them.

That wasn't chicken

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[...]Give us an example of ridiculous advice - if you would please.  :smile: [...]

None immediately occurs to me, but if one did, I wouldn't mention it, because such a mention would amount to an ad hominem attack. So I think your arch question will have to remain rhetorical. :hmmm::raz::laugh:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Dont forget this is the 2006 ratings book which means its all about the year of 2005's performance of these restaurants... not 2004, 2003, or anytime before that. The ratings are based off of there likes and dislikes... not yours or the general public. Thats why it is called a GUIDE not The End All Be All book.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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The ratings are based off of there likes and dislikes... not yours or the general public. Thats why it is called a GUIDE not The End All Be All book.

:smile:

Michelin:

"We make tires and maps..... oh, and determine the best restaurants in the world... because we can - who cares what you think - you just eat there - what we think is more important."

:laugh:

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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The ratings are based off of there likes and dislikes... not yours or the general public. Thats why it is called a GUIDE not The End All Be All book.

:smile:

Michelin:

"We make tires and maps..... oh, and determine the best restaurants in the world... because we can - who cares what you think - you just eat there - what we think is more important."

:laugh:

Most of the time, their taste in tires is much better than their taste in food.

Why all the fuss about a rating system that's been obsolete for at least a quarter century? Everyone in the food industry knows Michelin is just a huge political joke - no one really takes them seriously anymore.

Michelin (the food not rubbers) is simliar to a family patriarch. You bow with courtesy, but everyone knows the power lies with the matriarch.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Next thing you know, Mobil will be coming out with a food guide for New Yor City - I can hardly wait. Stars for everbody and everybody for stars.

Actually, I think they rate by fire chief hats.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Michelin (the food not rubbers) is simliar to a family patriarch. You bow with courtesy, but everyone knows the power lies with the matriarch.

I rate that post 3 Mojo Jojo Smiley's

Emoticon_-_Mojo_Jojo.pngEmoticon_-_Mojo_Jojo.pngEmoticon_-_Mojo_Jojo.png

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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One more point to continue with the baseball analogy. Leaving the Tasting Room out of the top 40 is similar to leaving Lou Gehrig out of Baseball's Hall of Fame.

Considering that Gehrig is pretty universally considered to be the best first baseman ever and a top ten player, all-time, no it isn't. It's more like leaving out Charlie Gehringer.

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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I'm very happy and gratified that Michelin published this book. It's the best proof yet that the star system is truly a worthless pile of doo-doo bung.

I don't think you need a "star system" in a major city like NYC (or London or Paris) to figure out where the best restaurants are. I only go to New York once a year or so - and I usually want to eat at least one meal in this year's "best restaurant". In the last 3 years - that means I've dined in 3 of the 4 3 star restaurants.

On the other hand - while you put down the "tire" origins of Michelin - that to me is its greatest strength. The fact that - at least where it started - it is comprehensive. Covering everything from large cities like Paris and gastronomic capitals like Lyons to much much smaller out of the way places - small cities - towns - places in the countryside. All kinds of restaurants. The highest of the high in Paris - and the one knife and fork place that opened last year in a small town. In fact - there is really no place in France it doesn't cover (and there are similar types of guides in other countries). You flip through a Michelin guide of France - and can plan a trip around eating (which will inevitably take you to some very interesting places you might not have considered going to - as well as some not so interesting ones where the only reason to go is to dine at a particular restaurant). Or you can find a decent place to eat in a town you're passing through.

As someone who has driven/traveled hundreds of thousands of miles in the US and Canada - I wish there was a similarly comprehensive guide for the US and Canada that had the same food acumen as Michelin (Michelin certainly isn't perfect but it's about 100 times better than the Mobil guide or AAA - I just looked up the Mobil listings for where I live - and they're a total joke - 9 restaurants for a city of over a million people - and most of them are lousy - there are at least a half dozen places that are really good that aren't even mentioned). Of course - the internet makes things a little easier now - but wouldn't it be nice to have a guide that would give you all the restaurants in Des Moines when you have to spend a night or two there on a business trip? You might find a nice 2 knife and fork restaurant you wouldn't otherwise find in a million years.

By the way - I am an equally big fan of the Michelin green guides (the sightseeing guides). Michelin has been doing US green guides for years. And they are uniformly excellent (I've lived in Florida for over 30 years and still use the Michelin green guide to Florida). Robyn

Edited by robyn (log)
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ive never seen so much criticism of a guide that essentially confirms the accepted beliefs regarding NY. some of the restaurants are very refined, others are a mixed bag, but occasionally very good; more expensive restaurants can afford better acoutrements, and media savvy chefs are not necessarily more cuisine savvy.

the guide is certainly more consistent, even in its inconsistency, than zagat or the new york times. the former is a popularity contest for the wealthy, and the latter, well, i cant even comment on the latter.

it is obvious that the stars are inflated slightly, but also, given the limitations of the star system, not unexpected; ie there would always have to be some rounding.

to be fair, i think that steven is right that only per se and ducasse offer an experience that could be fairly compared to a paris three star; but this isnt paris. michelin has always been extremely media savvy and it appears to still be.

in short, good for awareness of gastronomy, good for all of those in the industry.

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By the way - I am an equally big fan of the Michelin green guides (the sightseeing guides).  Michelin has been doing US green guides for years.  And they are uniformly excellent (I've lived in Florida for over 30 years and still use the Michelin green guide to Florida).  Robyn

Michelin makes beautiful maps – especially of Europe – so insanely detailed it’s incredible. I would have never made the drive from Avignon to Venasque without one .

I am thankful that they and many others provide very detailed descriptive directories detailing where things are, what things are, how much they cost, what one might expect to see – otherwise I may never have seen any of these places or be able to choose where to go.

That is not in dispute.

What is in question is the star rating system of those places and how those conclusions are drawn.

The printed directory in and of itself is an achievement that has little parallel as far as level of detail goes but things of this nature have already largely been replaced by websites and soon GPS electronic navigation systems and broadband wireless connections in your car will make printed guides fairly obsolete, and within these online systems there are no uniform standards, implied or otherwise. Most simply pull their data (maps and all) from central sources who sell such information.

The political ramifications of a Michelin star rating vs. any other type of rating system, because of it’s influence and ability to change the climate within a given locale is exactly why it needs to be reformed, it’s criteria published and if nothing else – set up electronically in maybe a blog style format so that comments can be made by regular people within the same page as the reviews.

As I said before – if it wasn’t so “important” – it wouldn’t matter so much, but it’s closed door policy needs to be pried open.

In my opinion of course.

With that, I'm done.

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I don't find the starred restaurants nearly as surprising as some of the unstarred restaurants that are included. Maybe we can talk about some of those. Here are the ones I've been to:

August -- Lovely little cafe. Merits a mention.

Aquavit, but too long ago for my judgment to count.

Banjara -- always good food in my experience, but the service I got the last time I was there turned me off for good. Questionable to include, I think. Is it partly that the place is a bit fancy for the East Village?

Becco -- I'm not a fan, but that's based on only one visit and most other Society members who've been there have liked it, so their inclusion is not strange.

Boathouse Central Park. Is there something to recommend about the food, or is it included just because of the picturesque location? I know Michelin considers views from restaurants worth special note.

Bouley. No comment necessary here.

Café Mogador -- reliable, pleasant neighborhood restaurant with a wine list and good desserts. Ambiance something like that of a crowded cafe in Montmartre.

Casa Mono. Plenty of discussion in the Casa Mono thread. Yes, it's a natural for inclusion.

Chanterelle, too long ago to count.

Cho Dang Gol -- very good Korean restaurant specializing in dishes with artisanal tofu. Informal and cheap for lunch, classy and more upscale at dinner. (They lower the lights.) I'm glad they included it.

Craft. No comment necessary here.

Eleven Madison Park, already discussed above.

Felidia, but I went for Restaurant Week lunch and too long ago to be very relevant.

Flor's Kitchen. Now this one is kind of odd. It's OK, but I'm not sure it really merits inclusion. I see they didn't include the tiny Caracas Arepa Bar, which I consider a better value. Then again, Michelin does care somewhat about the difference between a relatively cramped small restaurant and a tiny shoebox, I suppose.

Fuleen Seafood. We've had discussion of this place. Apparently, they tend to do poorly in health inspections, for one thing. On the other hand, their food can be very good.

Gnocco. East Village neighborhood restaurant with one terrific dessert. I could go either way on their being included.

Golden Unicorn. I've gone there many times for dim sum, never for dinner. It's OK.

Grand Sichuan Eastern. What? No Grand Sichuan International 50 St., St. Marks, or 24 St.?

Great N. Y. Noodletown. Nice to see that they're including some places where you can eat really cheaply and enjoy yourself.

Il Cortile. I went there a few years ago for dinner and found it quite acceptable. It's on Mulberry St. in "Little Italy."

JoJo -- haven't been lately.

Lavagna -- good, classy neighborhood restaurant on 5 St. near Av. B. Nice wine list, cafe/bar ambiance. Belongs.

L'Ecole -- quality of meal undoubtedly depends on where the students are in their curriculum.

L'Impero -- discussed above.

Lupa -- another restaurant that might have gotten a star? Too informal for one?

Mandarin Court -- went several years ago for dim sum and was not impressed.

Molyvos. Liked it.

Mosto. Interesting if the Michelin inspectors found the place good. I stopped going after they attempted to serve a very strongly off-smelling piece of fish to my brother and then claimed they had just gotten it that morning.

Nice Restaurant. OK Cantonese food; some is interesting, some isn't. Dependable. Included because there are many banquets there??

Nyonya. Haven't been lately. I'm not satisfied with Malaysian food in New York, but that's a topic for another thread.

Oriental Garden. Good seafood, many satisfied eGullet members.

Ouest, probably too long ago to count for much.

Pongsri Thai. Some of my meals have been better than others, and I think that different branches may be of different quality, though I don't go to any often enough to do a ranking. I wonder which branches are listed in Michelin.

Savoy. Loved it, but that was probably almost 6 years ago.

Second Avenue Deli. Haven't been lately.

Shun Lee Palace. Soured on it, but that has been a couple of years now.

Soba Ya. Liked the place when I went. Artisanal soba, kind of classy ambiance. I understand why it's listed.

Sunrise 27. I think this is the place where they were smoking in the restaurant and wouldn't stop. That's a dealbreaker with me, but some of the Europeans using the Michelin guide would like that. The food was good, though.

Sweet-n-Tart Restaurant. I've discussed this place on the Sweet 'n Tart thread. Yes, it belongs, with all the other Chinese restaurants listed. But where in the world is Congee Village in that list?

Union Square Café, but not very recently. Further discussion above.

Vong, but not recently.

Yangpyung Seoul. I've liked it. Pretty informal.

In Brooklyn:

Peter Luger (discussed above).

Queen. I went a couple of years ago for a slightly pricey but good lunch. It belongs.

River Café. I guess they didn't like the food enough for a star. I'm sure it gets points for the incredible panorama.

Queens:

Jackson Diner. Very tasty food, a bit pricey but worth it. Avoid the weekend buffet and get food to order.

Sripraphai (discussed above).

I'm a bit overwhelmed at the number of restaurants they included and also salute them for putting in as many inexpensive "ethnic"/neighborhood restaurants as they did. It seems to me that their Chinese selections are a little too skewed toward Chinatown below Canal St. and the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and I wonder why they didn't include Woo Chon and Kang Suh among their Korean selections. Also, the absence of Katz's is a glaring error, to my mind. Let's pick apart the places they did include and those that they didn't include but which you think should be included by the same apparent standards they used to determine inclusion. I'd be interested in discussions of some of the restaurants on their list that I've never heard of.

But leaving aside the question of which places got stars and how many, just looking at the restaurants I know something about, I don't feel like ridicule of the guide -- because it was produced by a tire company, or for some other reason -- is warranted. It seems to me, they did a lot of work and produced a credible list of restaurants.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The Michelin Star Restauraunt Guide and it's ratings is a major topic among cooks and chefs of high calibur restaurants. I believe that the ones that are being "rated" are the ones who care about it the most and more than the people who eat at the "rated" restaurants. It's obviously a fun topic to discuss among with other knowledgeable cooks. I think it may be a little hasty to just go out and put down the Michelin Guide.

I find it hard to believe that you can automatically assume that they are "wrong" and "incorrect" about there choices for stars on restaurants.

If every good restaurant got a star, the Michelin Guide wouldn't be so special. That's why so many chefs have high regards for this Guide because the Michelin Guide have high standards for dining.

once again, people do not seem to understand that this Guide is for 2006 and not for the past decade. Chanterelle probably would have recieved a star (atleast one) if this guide was out for year 2003. If that was the event, most likely would have lost a star by 2006. But if you think about it, if the guide was by 2003 then, one would ponder how chefs and restaurants would try to achieve more or keep the stars they have.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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In an article in Le Monde, Wednesday Nov 2, Jean-Claude Ribaut, their food and wine critic, wrote about the release of the Red 2006 NYC Michelin in an article that essentially said there were no surprises at the top and Michelin was proceeding cautiously in New York before tackling Los Vegas and Los Angeles.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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good link

also goes to michelin basically still being michelin

a french guide to gastronomy,

and vaut le voyage

still hands down the only guide in the world that "counts"

remains to be seen whether it will have any impact in New York

One interesting aspect that I havent seen discussed:

The euro is now the more formidable of the currencies for the first time since the second world war,

Why no talk of the Michelin chefs being marketable in Europe?

I guess we havent thought of cuisine as an export product.

This would be the only legitimate reference to a European opening for an American based chef. Great reverse marketing technique.

Heres to globalization in cuisine.

Wg.

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What is in question is the star rating system of those places and how those conclusions are drawn.

Funny you should say that. Michelin provides at least as much (if not more) explanation of their stars as any media outlet that rates restaurants. There are three newspapers in NYC alone that assign stars. And then there are the Zagat ratings, whose methodological woes are well chronicled, but are nevertheless highly successful, and more influential in New York than Michelin is ever likely to be.

As Andy Lynes noted, there's actually a whole lot of information out there about how Michelin works, if one bothers to seek it out. Their criteria are certainly a whole lot clearer than Frank Bruni's. Justice Potter Stewart famously said of pornography that it's not precisely definable, but "I know it when I see it." Much the same is true of a three-star restaurant.

Sizzleteeth is adept at changing the subject when cornered, but we'll try again. Of the eight restaurants to which Michelin gave two or three stars, seven have now, or have had in the recent past, four stars from the New York Times. All eight of them have either the highest (28) or second-highest (27) food rating on Zagat. The top 10 NYC food ratings list on Gayot.com includes seven of those eight restaurants (all but Danube).

The strong correlation of these lists strongly suggests that restaurant ratings are not arbitrary. If they were, you would not expect to find such a high degree of correlation. At the same time, because these judgments are subjective, the various lists are not identical, which is probably why Michelin made the commercial decision that there was room in the market for yet another NYC restaurant rating guide. It also gives us plenty to argue about.

The political ramifications of a Michelin star rating vs. any other type of rating system, because of it’s influence and ability to change the climate within a given locale is exactly why it needs to be reformed....

Michelin is a commercial venture, just like the New York Times and Zagat. They'll continue to rate restaurants as long as it is worth their while. As I mentioned upthread, to rate is human, so it's unsurprising that many guides that list restaurants attempt to rate them somehow. The Michelin system has been in existence (and successfully so) longer than anybody's, it is the least likely to change.

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The Michelin system has been in existence (and successfully so) longer than anybody's, it is the least likely to change.

Catch-22 theory of logic.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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. . . .

The Michelin NYC Guide is by no mean perfect and is, in my opinion, disappointing, but it still presents the most trusted and ambitious collection of NYC restaurants available.

It's hard to argue with that. Actually, it seems to be easy as so many are doing so with nothing more than corporate ad hominem attacks. What I mean to say is that I defy anyone to show more a more valid list, other than my own. Of course, it goes without saying that surely none of you would have the kind of problem with my list that I have with Michelin's. :laugh:

Michelin's list may not be fair to the chefs, it might not be of much help to the sophisticated NY diner, but as I've long ago discovered by using the Michelin guide in Spain, by and large with no other information, you'll do better choosing a listed restaurant than picking one at random and the restaurants with stars are generally better than ones without stars. Where Michelin fails utterly in Spain is by not recognizing talent soon enough. My chances to eat in Spain are limited to a few weeks a year and yet I've found numerous two star and one star restaurants that are better than the average restaurant holding one more star in France. In NY, there are some serious ommissions and misplacements in my opinion, but they are fewer than in Spain where Michelin has been long established and where restaurants may not change as quickly as they do in NY. How many changes of chef has ADNY had in the year it's been under examination? In France, normally a change in chef might impose a drop in rating for a year.

The long distance tourist in NY will be helped in choosing where to eat, although a few of the noteworthy places may escape his attention (all the better for us natives) and he may be led astray by some of the one stars, especially if he doesn't understand why they might have been awarded the star. I haven't read any of the review texts which hopefully offer a better interface than the European guides. Will it replace other guides such as the Time Out NY annual guide, for me? Probably not. Will it supplement it? Maybe.

--

Michelin has, on occasion, noted that it doesn't publish its criteria because it doesn't want to influence restaurateurs and chefs into changing their styles. I believe that's a valid position to take. The problem is that Michelin has succeeded too well in establishing it's voice and position. That's our fault. Let's not blame Michelin for being too influential because we pay too much respect to it.

Dont forget this is the 2006 ratings book which means its all about the year of 2005's performance of these restaurants... not 2004, 2003, or anytime before that. The ratings are based off of there likes and dislikes... not yours or the general public. Thats why it is called a GUIDE not The End All Be All book.

Point well taken, even if I would assess the year differently.

. . .

Michelin:

"We make tires and maps..... oh, and determine the best restaurants in the world... because we can - who cares what you think - you just eat there - what we think is more important."

:laugh:

Not what Michelin has ever said and thus I find that an irresponsible post, more than I find it a sarcastic post. Michelin is one of dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of entities that publish restaurant guides, with and without rankings, each year. It's no more arrogant than any other guide and Michelin has been quite solicitous when responding to suggestions we've made. Their power comes not from their attitude but from our collective need to have someone to tell us what we should learn by our own experience, but don't have the time or money to do. Michelin is not the evil empire simply because you or I don't agree with its list. Had I a financial investment in a restaurant they didn't properly award enough stars, I might however refer to them as the evil empire. Perhaps I see Michlin as Chrchill saw democracy. Michelin fails as a guide, just not as badly as all the others.

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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Michelin isn't going to be absolutely 100% perfect. Nothing will as long its being done by humans. It's pretty close though.

I'm not sure I'd characterize Michelin as pretty close to perfect. For example, I don't think there's anybody who has dined at Michelin three-star restaurants in Europe who seriously thinks Le Bernardin is a Michelin three-star restaurant. I can't imagine anybody in the Michelin organization thinks so either. Which means it was a marketing move, and a patronising one at that. If your claim is that your guides are so great because of their rigorous processes, and then you blow it by disregarding what you know to be the case, you are a lot less than pretty close to perfect.

Nor do I think Michelin is going to be able to get away with the same kind of secrecy that it has always exercised in Europe. If you come to play in the New York media market, you've got to be prepared to do a lot more than recite platitudes about how your ratings represent a consensus. You've also got to be able to prove your expertise. From the list, we can tell several of the inclusions are either cynical (three stars for Le Bernardin) or absurdly clueless (Boathouse Cafe). We know Michelin is incompetent in its non-Western evaluations. It will be interesting to see what we learn when the system is placed under the magnifying glass by American media.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Sizzleteeth is adept at changing the subject when cornered, but we'll try again. Of the eight restaurants to which Michelin gave two or three stars, seven have now, or have had in the recent past, four stars from the New York Times. All eight of them have either the highest (28) or second-highest (27) food rating on Zagat. The top 10 NYC food ratings list on Gayot.com includes seven of those eight restaurants (all but Danube).

Damn...... you got me.

(Grabs heart... spins around and falls to the ground... )

And since I've been gotten - I'm forced to respond... with my last breath.

Especially since what you just said - I pretty much said already within a post where I stepped back

from my initial words and agreed with another poster.

I'll step back and agree with you there - perhaps "worthless" is too strong a word - and even in saying it I was making it apply to me personally - not to imply it is worthless to everyone.

So "take it with a grain of salt" and there are perhaps better, more accurate, impartial and reliable methods.

I suppose in fact, the Guide in conjunction with Egullet in conjunction with X number of critical forums makes it somewhat of a valuable asset - to either confirm or discount it's findings.

What you fail to point out is that these other "ratings systems" apply at least some of the top top honors to different types of restaurants - for instance the times gives Masa (a Japanese restaurant) - 4 stars and not only that they rate many many more restaurants - Zagat what 2100? Also, things like The Times offers their rating - but also - side by side - offers reader ratings and allow you to write your own review.

But honestly - star ratings are meaningless to me - I haven't agreed or disagreed with the list because I can't - I don't live in NY and I haven't been to all these places to be able to make that type of assessment - the main thing I've questioned here is methods and delivery.

Here's the scenario...

A guide whom has the political power of a dictator in Europe and more importantly in France comes to America and starts rating restaurants, they start with NY and the only 4 restaurants with very top honors - in the entire city..... are French.

I love France, been to France, love French food, have many friends in Paris - if that is truly the case I would have no problem with it at all.

What I'm asking Oak is... is that truly the case.. and if so - how was that conclusion drawn?

So let me apologize for my earlier post - which wasn't so much a ridicule of the guide as it was a smart ass reply to the quote in the post about them rating restaurants by their taste alone in exclusion of all others.

Also let me apologize for the Power Puff Girls reference (symbolizing the power of the matriarch) in which I mocked the star rating system with Mojo Jojo Smileys in a metaphor comparing the guide to the arch enemy of the Power Puff Girls who just happens to be an evil monkey hell bent on taking over townsville.

"Elizabeth...... I'm comin' to see ya!!!"

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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For example, I don't think there's anybody who has dined at Michelin three-star restaurants in Europe who seriously thinks Le Bernardin is a Michelin three-star restaurant.

A question since I've never been to a Michelin three-star in Europe...are all 3 stars created equal? In other words, would a 3 star in France be comparable to a 3 star in all other European countries in which Michelin publishes a red book? I guess the real question is, do they "grade on a curve" in all countries outside of France?

Just curious.

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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Having a NY Michelin guide at hand is much like having a new translation of a work I've only read in the original language and learning that I may not have understood that work as well as I thought I did in the original language. The flaws in the NY guide serve largely to help me understand the shortcomings of the original. I will also note as I may have before, that the flows in the Spain and Italy guides also helped my better understand the France guide.

I do not believe it will be of great intellectual interest "to see what we learn when the system is placed under the magnifying glass by American media," as Fat Guy suggests. I suspect most of the American media is too clueless in regard to the strengths or weaknesses of the European Michelin guides to have much to say that is really interesting. That there's a decided anti-French attitude towards France, the French and the French press in particular in the American media makes for the kind of "interesting" reading that says more about American prejudice than anything else.

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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A question since I've never been to a Michelin three-star in Europe...are all 3 stars created equal?  In other words, would a 3 star in France be comparable to a 3 star in all other European countries in which Michelin publishes a red book?  I guess the real question is, do they "grade on a curve" in all countries outside of France?

Just curious.

No two restaurants in the world are equal. I've eaten in two star restaurants in Spain that out performed three star restaurants in France. Between those two countries alone, there's a decided inequity, but it's also true that I don't necessarily agree with the ratings of those two and three star restaurants in which I've eaten in France. Understand that ratings are someone's opinion. Change the judges and you may well get different opinions. There are different inspectors in each country.

More specifically, do they grade on a curve? I'd say the opposite in Spain where it appears they simply repress the scores or delay rewarding a third star for years longer than it might take in France, lest Spain appear gastronomically superior or perhaps in a more charitable vein, because they don't understand the food. Of course we don't know if the Spanish inspectors are French or Spanish, but their prejudice seems obvious to me. Then again, one of my favorite meals in Spain was at a three star restaurant. Another member here, whose opinions I respect, thought his meal was a disaster. He found a three star meal in Italy to be one of the best of his life. I found it excellent but less successful than many a two and three star meal in Spain. We each have our own perspective.

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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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A question since I've never been to a Michelin three-star in Europe...are all 3 stars created equal?  In other words, would a 3 star in France be comparable to a 3 star in all other European countries in which Michelin publishes a red book?  I guess the real question is, do they "grade on a curve" in all countries outside of France?

Timidly joining the discussion here as someone far away from the NYC cuisine scene since '85, I would suggest that the Red Guide to Switzerland holds the answer to your question. For the French places in the French cantons, its standards are pretty much as they would be a few miles over the border, but regarding German places in German cantons, it's much less useful and comparable. I agree with Bux that in Spain it gets even dicier, although in Italy it's often OK. My sense is that when outside France (excepting French places in Switzerland and Belgium) one is better off purchasing and trusting the local guides (eg Gambero Rosso, l'Express) than the Michelin, although I always have it in my car for hotels, rural places and Bibs.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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