The Michelin Red Guide to New York City’s best restaurants was released last week, and it included the usual smattering of surprises.
For nearly a century, Michelin has been the arbiter of restaurant fortunes—first in France, then throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S. At the top levels, establishments are awarded stars: one (very good in its class), two (worth a detour) or three (worth a special journey). Since the Guide’s releases are staggered throughout the calendar year, the number of starred restaurants is constantly fluctuating, but there are currently around 110 three-stars around the world.
The biggest shock was the demotion of Restaurant Daniel, the flagship of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, from three stars down to two. Boulud immediately released a statement to the effect that “two stars is still an honor,” but it’s doubtful that he was quite as gracious in private. “Daniel Boulud is a great chef and he’s got a wildly popular restaurant,” said Michelin international director Michael Ellis. “But we’ve been following him closely and he hasn’t been consistently delivering food at the three-star level. We look forward to him winning it back soon.”
Here are the other notable winners and losers:
- A number of well-known restaurants lost stars, particularly the tony wine bars A Voce Columbus and A Voce Madison.
- Picholine regained a star, as did the iconic River Café, recently reopened after being shuttered for 15 months due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.
- Aquavit, the pioneering Scandinavian restaurant, gained its second star, as did Carlo Mirachi’s Blanca in Brooklyn.
- Speaking of Brooklyn: the outer boroughs remain red-hot, evidence by a new spate of starred restaurants (La Vara, Pok Pok NY, Luksus, Take Root and Delaware and Hudson); Casa Enrique, in Queens, became the only Mexican eatery in the city with a star.
- Sushi Nazakawa, the darling of food critics and the most desirable sushi bar seat in Manhattan, was skunked by the 2015 Guide.
ZZ’s Clam Bar in Greenwich Village, the latest stratospherically-priced entry from the Major Food Group, gained its first star alongside other corporate siblings such as Carbone and Torrisi Italian Specialties.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014); for more information, go to amazon.com