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