Friday, October 10, 2008

Star Sighting

Dining room at Per Se.
2009 Michelin Restaurant Stars Awarded
By Lourdes Castro


New York City is officially home to four Michelin three star restaurants. That may not seem like much – after all, the city has more than 18,000 restaurants - but it is one more than there was last year. (In case you are wondering there are a total of 69 three star restaurants worldwide.)

The select four are Jean-Georges, Le Bernardin, Per Se, and Masa (the latter is the newest three star member). Most would agree that these are solid restaurants, but why do they get the three star nod while others don’t?

The Michelin guide is careful to distinguish itself from a directory. Instead it wants its readers to view it as a highly selective collection of the best-rated establishments. All restaurants listed in the guide – starred or not – have passed their inspections and are recommended on some level.

So how does the star rating system work? First of all the selection and ratings is performed by professional inspectors that have been trained to follow the established international standards that Michelin has been using for over 100 years. Once at the restaurant, these anonymous inspectors judge only what is on the plate. To do so they examine the following five criteria: the quality of the products, the mastering of the flavors, the mastering of cooking technique, the “personality” of the cuisine, and the consistency throughout the year.

Therefore, stars are given solely for a restaurant’s cuisine. Other symbols are used to rate ambiance, service, and décor. Check out the 2009 list of New York City starred restaurants below and see if you agree with the inspectors.
Dining Room at Jean-Georges.
*** Three Star Restaurants
(Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey):
** Two Star Restaurants
(Excellent cuisine, worth a detour):

Jean-Georges
Le Bernardin
Masa
Per Se

Adour
Daniel
Del Posto
Gilt
Gordon Ramsey at The London
Momofuku Ko
Picholine
Baby Eels at Le Bernardin.
Foie at Per Se.
** One Star Restaurants(A very good restaurant in its category):
Allen & Delancey
Alto
Annisa
Anthos
Aureole
Blue Hill
Café Boulud
Cru
Dressler
Eighty-one
Etats-Unis
Fiamma
Fleur de Sel
Gotham Bar & Grill
Gramercy Tavern
Insieme
Jewel Bako
JoJo
Kyo Ya
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Modern (The)
Oceana
Perry Street
Peter Lugar
Public
Saul
Spotted Pig
Sushi of Gari
Veritas
Wallse
wd~50
Le Bernardin.
Masa .