Someone asked me yesterday what was my take on the Michelin Guides reviews? For New Yorkers, I truly think it is a non-event. Perhaps for tourists coming to New York, it might be a guide for decisions on where to eat. Zagats, in my opinion, has such an awful website that it is impossible to read. There is so much consumer driven information, such as blogs, or even Menupages, that Michelin is just another opinion.
But, I figured I’d weigh in my opinion on the choices Michelin made. The three stars, which was the top lot, went to Per Se, Le Bernadin, Alain Ducasse and Jeans-George. I am not a big fan of uptown stuffy restaurants. I have been to 2 out of the four restaurants. I have not been to Alain Ducasse and have truly no interest. Per Se, which I went to recently certainly deserves the 3 stars. They are pushing the envelope on food. Le Bernadin is superb at every thing. The food, the service, the setting.
The 2 stars went to Bouley, Danube, Daniel and Masa. Masa is top. I think they deserve 3 stars, hands down, not 2 but that’s me. I have not been to the lastest Bouley and have heard mixed reviews. Some entrees are over the top while others are just mediocre. I went to Daniel years ago. I found it so stuffy and the food so overly French and loaded with sauce that it just didn’t do it for me. Danube, I went to for lunch a few years ago. The decor is truly a plane ride to Vienna but the food was also laden with butter. Not for me.
What is the most interesting is the one stars that were chosen. They certainly did their homework. What surprised me was how many I had been to, so I can actually weigh in on my thoughts here.
Annisa – Really good food, wonderful atmosphere and service. A must go.
Aureole – Have not been in a few years. Have always been a fan. Good food, wonderful flowers.
Babbo – One of my all time favs. Good food, good vibe and great tunes.
BLT Fish – I have only eaten at the downstairs bar which was ok at best. I’ll have to make it upstairs.
Cafe Boulud – Never been.
Cafe Gray – Heard mixed things. The mall thing still throws me although I love Masa.
Cru – Excellent food and wine. Really inventive. Worth going.
Etats Unis – Never liked this place. Really stuffy and old
Fiamma Osterio – Always thought this was Hansons best place. Really really good food.
Fleur de Sel – I had a bad meal there when it opened. I’d go back and try again.
Gotham Bar and Grill – One of NYC’s great restaurants. Must go.
Grammery Tavern – Another one of NYC’s great restaurants. Must go.
JoJo – Classic upper east side establishment. Good food. The signature chocolate dessert is a must.
Jewel Bako – The architecture alone is worth going to see. Expensive but excellent sushi.
La Goulue – Never been.
Lever House – Looks a bit like a TWA terminal. Good food but I was not in awe.
Lo Scalco – Surprised me on this one. I really liked the food here. I might have to go back again.
March – Never been after all these years, I’ll probably continue on that course.
Nobu – I really think they have overexpanded and have gone downhill. Better places available in the city.
Oceana – Classic. Great fish. Perfect for a business dinner.
Peter Luger – What can I say? A classic. Bring cash and make reservations. Try the Canadian Bacon.
Picholine – I wasn’t wowed but it was a few years back.
Saul – Never been.
Scalini Fedeli – Never been
Spotted Pig – Have meant to go there about 4 times. Will get there and looking forward to it.
The Modern – Will become a classic, guaranteed. Go.
Veritas – Good food, unbelievable wine selections. Go.
Vong – A bit too Disneyland for me. Overrated.
Wallse – Never been, want to and will.
WD – 50 – Innovative and the crowd is way young.
There is my take on the picks. Some good, some not. As my father used to say, and still does, that is what makes horse races or that is why some people like Vanilla ice cream. Personally, I’m all about the chocolate.
I like your list and even though I have not seen the Michellin Guide, I have to say that Wallse should get more than one star, although I am glad it made it. I think it is one of the best restaurants, hands down, in the city. Great ambience, great service, fantastic food, and unprententious. I highly recommend checking it out. Hope you enjoy!