The ratings in the 2012 New York City Michelin Guide were announced on Tuesday afternoon, and with a couple of exceptions, its highest-rated three-star top picks line up pretty squarely with The New York Times four-star choices, meaning there's little daylight between the city's top arbiters of taste.
The guide added two restaurants to its top echelon this year, most notably Eleven Madison Park, The Times four-star pick that has historically experienced hard luck with Michelin. It went three years with no star, and then couldn't get out of the single-star category for two years until it finally skipped a grade and landed in the three-star group this year, possibly on the strength of a well-received late 2010 renovation. The guide dropped no restaurants from its top tier, but the other one it added has also caused something of a stir: Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare is a tiny dining space attached to a Brooklyn specialty food market. Customers bring their own wine and sit at a counter, "perhaps putting to rest the notion that a Michelin three-star restaurant had to deliver luxury in addition to fine food and wine," notes The Times' Florence Fabricant, pointing out that the guide defines three-star choices as "choicest restaurants, where the whole dining experience is superb." The Times, for its part, gave Brooklyn Fare three stars this year. The only Times four-star restaurant that didn't make Michelin's three-star list is Del Posto, which has languished in the one-star category for years and continues to do so.
As an aside: Eleven Madison Park's owner, Danny Meyer, plans to sell the restaurant to executive chef Daniel Humm and general manager Will Guidara, news that was uniquely confirmed on Tuesday in the foreword of the restaurant's forthcoming cookbook.
There was some drama leading up to the release of next year's guide, as the official Twitter stream got it in hot water by tweeting about "an incredible dinner at Le Bernardin last night" when the restaurant was closed for renovations in August. Le Bernardin made the three-star cut, but whether that's due to any kind of funny business on the part of the "famously anonymous" reviewer or tweeter is unlikely. The Eric Ripert seafood spot has long been one of the city's top dining destinations.
On the two-star list, only one restaurant fell in the ranks as Picholine gave up a star to land in the single-star category. David Chang's famed Momofuku Ko kept its two stars, which should come as a relief to the chef who spent the last couple of days tweeting about his jangled nerves: "@MichelinGuideNY every year around this time the red book forces me into some strange state of pyschosis." The new additions, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and SHO Shaun Hergatt both came up from the single-star group. There's going to be a lot of champagne flowing in New York kitchens tonight, and a few tears, too. But compared to previous years, this edition of the guide was, overall, generous to those that deserved it.