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2007 Michelin New York


Fat Guy
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augieland states:

"I simply assert that if you are offering a travel guide, as Michelin is, it would be a mistake to overlook three restaurants operating at a level superior to their counterparts which can only be experienced in the place you are referencing."

dude, what are you talking about? they're in the guide!

further note: they may be "operating at a level superior to their counterparts" in NY, but if you don't think that their equal or better can be found in the rest of the country...

Edited by Nathan (log)
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I would also suggest that people not take the Michelin "worth traveling for" too literally. There are plenty of people here devoted (or insane) enough to travel hundreds of miles for a slice of pizza (I'm not one of them).

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I would also suggest that people not take the Michelin "worth traveling for" too literally.  There are plenty of people here devoted (or insane) enough to travel hundreds of miles for a slice of pizza (I'm not one of them).

I think people on here make that distinction. the 3 stars are the pinnacle of destination restaurants - for instance, for Alinea (and a Cubs game) I may go to Chicago. I could see the same equation applied to Masa....

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having been to Alinea...I would absolutely travel for it.

it is that good.

I don't doubt that Masa could be at that level....but I tend to think I probably don't have the palate to ascertain the difference between it and Yasuda (for example)....

I suppose, if one was attempting to defend giving Masa two as opposed to three stars, the argument would be that anyone can appreciate what is special about Per Se...whereas you might have to be pretty experienced to understand what makes Masa better than Yasuda.

note: I am not saying Masa deserves two but not three...I am saying that the above would be an argument...whether it is valid, I do not know. (I also find it surprising that Yasuda was not starred....but at least they added two Japanese restaurants this year....)

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I don't doubt that Masa could be at that level....but I tend to think I probably don't have the palate to ascertain the difference between it and Yasuda (for example)....

I suppose, if one was attempting to defend giving Masa two as opposed to three stars, the argument would be that anyone can appreciate what is special about Per Se...whereas you might have to be pretty experienced to understand what makes Masa better than Yasuda.

note: I am not saying Masa deserves two but not three...I am saying that the above would be an argument...whether it is valid, I do not know. (I also find it surprising that Yasuda was not starred....but at least they added two Japanese restaurants this year....)

I happen to love Yasuda (in my mind the second best sushi place in NY) but my one meal at Masa absolutely blew away any experience I've had at Yasuda. To me, they are not in the same league and I don't think you need to be all that experienced to discern the difference.

Andrew

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This is more or less a question for FG, but I'd be curious what anyone else thinks.

Reading this thread has made me recall something that I've wondered ever since I started lurking on egullet a few years ago. Its fair to say that egullet has one of the best collections of knowledgeable and experienced diners out there. Instead of simply critiquing (or complaining :biggrin: ) about the lists that Michelin, or Zagat, or the Times compile, why not have a Zagat style poll and come up with an egullet ranking? The methodology could be numerical (like Zagat) or stars or something else. Has this ever been considered? The list could even be continuously and automatically updated.

Andrew

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One of the things that irritates me about Michelin is that they can’t just be honest and admit that there are other factors that inform the awarding of stars, especially three stars. It’s not solely about food and, in fact, there is explanatory text in the guide that contradicts Michelin’s assertion. Under the explanation of starred restaurants (page 26), you’ll note the following: “Three stars – our highest award – are given to the very best restaurants, where the whole dining experience is superb.” Then, on the next page: “The awarding of a star is based solely on the cuisine.”

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One of the things that irritates me about Michelin is that they can’t just be honest and admit that there are other factors that inform the awarding of stars, especially three stars.  It’s not solely about food and, in fact, there is explanatory text in the guide that contradicts Michelin’s assertion.  Under the explanation of starred restaurants (page 26), you’ll note the following:  “Three stars – our highest award – are given to the very best restaurants, where the whole dining experience is superb.”  Then, on the next page: “The awarding of a star is based solely on the cuisine.”

I don't think that is a contradiction at all. Inorder to be awarded a single Michelin star a restaurant has to have outstanding food in its category. The additional stars require more than that with three stars being the complete package.

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

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It still seems contradictory. On one page, Michelin is talking about 3-star places involving the entire experience, then on the other page there's absolutely no mention of a total dining experience under explanatory text for 3 star restaurants. Just words about the cuisine.

Perhaps I'm nitpicking.

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I'm rather confused as to what is so NY about Blue Hill, Savoy and Hearth.  The first two are NY versions of contemporary California cuisine.

While I don't agree with the restaurants chosen in that statement, I know exactly what the guy above means. A lot of the starred restaurants seem like giant empire restaurants all shooting for 3 or 4 stars. The home grown-ness of these smaller places shooting for great food is what counts. My understanding is that the michelin guide is published for destination places only to be found in that city. While some of the starred restaurants are, others could be found almost anywhere. And while California did influence the local produce farm fresh approach, none of the places mentioned above use quite the blend of ingredients like they do in california. Their climate is different, therefore they can make use of various ingredients such as various citrus and more asian friendly produce. So no, none of those places mentioned above are contemporary California cuisine at all.

I would appreciate it if Michelin could list the smaller places that you should go out of your way for. Sometimes they do.....although I don't agree, there's the Spotted Pig, but then how can the Spotted Pig and Craft be on the same level at all? One's casual and one's just the opposite. There just needs to be some congruity in the list, then I could use it.

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but then how can the Spotted Pig and Craft be on the same level at all? One's casual and one's just the opposite. There just needs to be some congruity in the list, then I could use it.

but the guide does make this distinction.

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one star is supposed to be soley about the food (within its category)

three stars is not.  that was the explanation for "a star" not "three stars"

From Michelin's latest press release:

Stars are awarded by the Michelin inspectors to restaurants offering the finest cooking, regardless of the style of cuisine or level of comfort. The stars judge only the quality of the cuisine. Five criteria are used in determining a star rating:  the quality of products, the mastering of flavors and cooking, the “personality” of the cuisine, the value for money and the consistency.

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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Reading this thread has made me recall something that I've wondered ever since I started lurking on egullet a few years ago.  Its fair to say that egullet has one of the best collections of knowledgeable and experienced diners out there.  Instead of simply critiquing (or complaining  :biggrin: ) about the lists that Michelin, or Zagat, or the Times compile, why not have a Zagat style poll and come up with an egullet ranking?  The methodology could be numerical (like Zagat) or stars or something else.  Has this ever been considered?  The list could even be continuously and automatically updated. 

We've considered it on a few occasions and always decided against it. The Society doesn't take positions on the quality of individual restaurants. We celebrate the diversity of viewpoints among our members. We offer a different kind of knowledge. It doesn't come shrink-wrapped and bite-sized.

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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This is more or less a question for FG, but I'd be curious what anyone else thinks.

Reading this thread has made me recall something that I've wondered ever since I started lurking on egullet a few years ago.  Its fair to say that egullet has one of the best collections of knowledgeable and experienced diners out there.  Instead of simply critiquing (or complaining  :biggrin: ) about the lists that Michelin, or Zagat, or the Times compile, why not have a Zagat style poll and come up with an egullet ranking?  The methodology could be numerical (like Zagat) or stars or something else.  Has this ever been considered?  The list could even be continuously and automatically updated. 

Andrew

I've actually wondered this same thing and I would actually pay for a list like this, while I would never pay for a Zagat.

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having been to Alinea...I would absolutely travel for it.

it is that good.

I don't doubt that Masa could be at that level....but I tend to think I probably don't have the palate to ascertain the difference between it and Yasuda (for example)....

I suppose, if one was attempting to defend giving Masa two as opposed to three stars, the argument would be that anyone can appreciate what is special about Per Se...whereas you might have to be pretty experienced to understand what makes Masa better than Yasuda.

note: I am not saying Masa deserves two but not three...I am saying that the above would be an argument...whether it is valid, I do not know.  (I also find it surprising that Yasuda was not starred....but at least they added two Japanese restaurants this year....)

Speaking of Yasuda, it's not even on the list, whereas Jewel Bako, for which the overwhelming advice has been to avoid since the departure of it's original chef and it's expansion, is starred... makes me really start to think that the inspecteurs professionnels have their collective heads up their asses when it comes to Japanese/asian, although they are sure to include Kuruma and Masa because they are the 2 most expensive. They even got the neighborhood wrong for Masa, listing it as Midtown East. Think they went?

I think the Japanese boom in NY over the past few years (giving rise to the many big-room Japanese) is completely lost on Michelin, all the better if it keeps tourists out of the less touristy places where I happen to be :raz:

Yasuda is a very authentic Sushi experience in a very nice but fairly big room (for a sushi restaurant), but Masa is on another level, an intimate shrine, comparable to a chef's table if you are at the counter in front of Masa, and a tasting menu tailored for each diner with seasonal ingredients of impeccable quality and preparation...so yeah, I kind of think it deserves 3 stars...he's probably saying to himself, "what's a guy gotta do?"

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In a few posts on this topic, there seems to be some confusion regarding whether certain restaurants are or are not included in the Michelin Guide. To clarify, there is a difference between being awarded a star and being included in the guide. In addition to the three restaurants with three stars, four restaurants with two stars and 32 restaurants with one star, there are 487 non-starred restaurants in the guide. Inclusion in the guide is considered an honor in and of itself.

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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"They even got the neighborhood wrong for Masa, listing it as Midtown East. Think they went?"

yes, I think they went. as for the neighborhood listings...a lot of them are weird. but they're not so weird once you realize that they're written for tourists.

as for Yasuda, yeah, I'm surprised that it didn't get a star...but you haven't explained, imo, why Masa would merit three as opposed to two...which is a great honor.

you know, in a perverse sort of way, I think two-star Michelin restaurants are screwed.

people understand that one is an honor and many are happy just to have that.

three is understood as the creme de la creme...but we treat two stars as meaning that they fell short of three....which I think in Michelin's view is entirely the wrong way to look at it.

I see this misunderstanding all over the place. for example, this blogger couldn't understand why there would be an equal number of two and three star michelin restaurants (last year):

http://augieland.blogs.com/augie_land/2005..._silly_fre.html

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I don't think Mr. Takayama would appreciate your last line... "Masa is probably feeling pretty good about his two stars, as there aren't many Asian restaurants with more than one Michelin star."  makes me feel like he should be happy to have 2 because Asian restaurants can't hang in the upper echelon with Euros. Based on some of their ratings, I don't think Michelin "gets" japanese or asian in general...

To clarify I am not defending Michelin's Euro-centric ratings in the least. But if Takayama is at all pragmatic, he will be aware that very few Asian restaurants get more than a star, and to be awarded two of them is—in the context of that particular system—an unusually high honor.

Yes, of course I'm sure he would prefer three—who wouldn't? But since no Asian restaurant in NY has been awarded three, and no other Asian restaurant has been awarded two, he's sitting in a pretty good place.

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There are 487 non-starred restaurants in the guide. Inclusion in the guide is considered an honor in and of itself.

But knowing who those are requires buying the guide, which most of us are trying to avoid :biggrin:

Edited by raji (log)
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"They even got the neighborhood wrong for Masa, listing it as Midtown East. Think they went?"

yes, I think they went.  as for the neighborhood listings...a lot of them are weird.  but they're not so weird once you realize that they're written for tourists.

as for Yasuda, yeah, I'm surprised that it didn't get a star...but you haven't explained, imo, why Masa would merit three as opposed to two...which is a great honor.

you know, in a perverse sort of way, I think two-star Michelin restaurants are screwed.

people understand that one is an honor and many are happy just to have that.

three is understood as the creme de la creme...but we treat two stars as meaning that they fell short of three....which I think in Michelin's view is entirely the wrong way to look at it.

I see this misunderstanding all over the place.  for example, this blogger couldn't understand why there would be an equal number of two and three star michelin restaurants (last year):

http://augieland.blogs.com/augie_land/2005..._silly_fre.html

Part of the problem is that Michelin just doesn't work the way it used to. Years back - it was usual (I can't say it always happened - but I saw it a lot) for a new restaurant to start with 1 star. If my memory isn't failing me - I ate at Jamin when it was relatively new (open maybe a year) and had 1 star. I made a reservation at a place like L'Esperance after it had received a second star - and by the time I got to the restaurant months later - it had received a third.

In other words - there was a progression. And there was certainly no shame in a 1 star restaurant receiving a second star (although restaurants which lost a third star and wound up with 2 could be very demoralized - some that lost the third fought back and regained the third - some didn't). Some restaurants stayed delighted with their 2 star status - others aspired to the third. In my opinion - it was a process that allowed chefs and restaurants to grow and mature. Some did it quickly - others were late bloomers. It was a variable process.

Flash forward 20 or so years and now it is instant everything. Restaurants want instant success. Diners (and many people who do restaurant reviews) want instant access to what they think are the best new restaurants - the minute they open. Michelin wants to make a big splash now - so the idea of an orderly star progression in a new market isn't appealing. Even the idea of giving a brand new restaurant at most 1 star simply because it is brand new isn't appealing in a market like New York because that restaurant may well be closed - or the chef will have left - by the time the restaurant might be ready for a second.

Some of this is understandable. Everyone has a lot more money at stake - the restaurants - the diners - Michelin. The idea of a Senderens opening what he hoped would be a fine food restaurant in a purple dump like Archestrate (and staying there for a time even when he had 3 stars) would be laughable today. Still - I am not sure that - in the long run - this makes for better chefs and better restaurants. That's one reason why the world (not only Las Vegas) is seeing an increasing number of fine chefs in hotel restaurants - the hotels provide financial stability that most chefs could not afford if they opened restaurants on their own. I used to laugh at hotel restaurants. These days they frequently merit my most serious consideration.

Perhaps the area where these changes are most negative is that of consistency. I have had this dispute with Steve many times. He thinks it's ok for a restaurant to have an off night - where a diner is disappointed. He thinks it's ok that a dish comes out not right - and that I should have to send it back. I disagree in the rarified world of Michelin 2 and 3 star restaurants. I only eat in each of these places once in my life - and so do most other people if they are dining "on the road". If my meal isn't uniformly excellent (I hope for exquisite but rarely get it these days) - then the restaurant doesn't deserve 2 or 3 stars. I think this need for consistency was a lesson chefs and restaurants learned when they had to work to earn each star - and the second was harder than the first - and the third was except for a handful an impossible goal. It was a useful lesson - and it seems to me that a lot of so-called "big deal" chefs and restaurants these days have never learned it. Robyn

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quick question:

is it literally true that when Michelin first introduces a guide for a new area that no restaurant in that area gets more than a star?

I have a hard time believing that has ever been the case. I'm willing to lay some cash down that it's a myth.

Further, I'm also willing to bet that when an already established chef opens a new restaurant...that that restaurant may well open with more than one star...even in Paris.

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