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MICHELIN 2012: A brief summary of new findings, surprises

Foodies all over the world, get your wallets and appetites ready–the 2011 Michelin Guides are out, and maitre d’s all over the world are waiting for you. The Michelin Guide has been the seminal ratings guide for the best restaurants in the world since the early 20th century. The Michelin Guide awards stars (up to three) to what it feels are the best restaurants in the world–rated by anonymous inspectors (dream job, much?) who “assess the quality and the reliability of the experience” at the restaurant. Any number of stars would be highly coveted by most restaurants (except perhaps in the case of Thomas Keller; he seems to be getting used to at least two stars).

According to the Michelin Guide’s official website, one star denotes a restaurant one should visit, but not go out of the way for. Two star-rated restaurants are “worth a detour,” and three star-rated restaurants are “worth a special journey,” a culinary pilgrimage. Michelin Guides are currently published for New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, as well as for international cities. The 2012 Michelin Guide’s for Chicago and San Francisco are due to come out in the next few weeks, but below are some highlights from some of New York City’s Michelin-starred restaurants:

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (3*)

200 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

This innovative Brooklyn restaurant features chef César Ramirez, supported by a few cooks, cooking live for diners. Eating at Chef’s Table does not just promise a meal, but an entire experience. The menu at Chef’s Table features cuisine inspired by American and international traditions.

Eleven Madison Park (3*)

11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

A combination of American Nouveau and French cuisines, the menu at Eleven Madison Park is Danny Meyer’s latest addition to his Michelin-starred arsenal of restaurants. After Grammercy Tavern, which is perhaps Danny Meyer’s most well-known restaurant, Eleven Madison Park offers a striking atmosphere, excellent service, and an innovative meal.

As a preview for San Francisco’s Michelin Guide, Michelin has released “Bib Gourmand” restaurants. These restaurants are aimed for diners on a budget, and inclusion in this category is not as prestigious as being Michelin-starred. Here are some of the Bib Gourmand restaurants for this year:

Boon Eat + Drink

16248 Main St., Guerneville, CA 95446

Boon Eat + Drink describes itself as a “modern California bistro.” Featuring Nouveau American cuisine, this casual restaurant is moderately priced and uses organic and locally-grown ingredients. Its menu features simple dishes with a Boon twist.

Kappou Gomi

5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco 94121

An innovative Japanese restaurant, Kappou Gomi does not focus on Americanized Japanese food, but rather serves authentic Japanese cuisine in an authentic Japanese style.  Instead of serving California rolls, Kappou Gomi serves traditional Japanese dishes such as Shungiku Ohitiashi, which is a crysanthemum and “bonito sauce” dish, and Gin-An, which features sea bream and an amber sauce.

– Damanpreet Pelia

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