Did Michelin hit a Pothole?

Did Michelin hit a Pothole?

The list many have waited for was just released and I sit with mixed emotions. I'm thrilled for friends who've earned a well deserved Star rating and others reaching the Bib list. Yet, some of the list is confusing not only by its inclusions but its misses.

 

The lock for 3 stars was easily Alinea if they didn't get 3 Jean -Luc would have been laughed at globally. L2O is an interesting choice considering their chef is leaving/gone. Are they not dialed in to the local scene? Were the books already printed and well you gotta sell the book! Francis the stage is now yours.

 

2 stars were awarded to Avenues, Charlie Trotter and Ria. Ria is the surprise and Avenues was a dark horse for a possible three. Next year, I'll predict like many they move up and L2O gets bumped? Charlie Trotter is another one I wonder about. With Exec Chef Matt Merges having left will this bastion of Chicago dining retain its status or move up or down?

 

The biggest discussion comes amongst the 1 Star Restaurants. I'll list and offer comment:

 

Blackbird - Easy choice and could move up to 2 next year

Boka - Well deserved for a good friend and his team.

Bonsoiree - While I haven't been I've heard lots of good things, look forward to getting here. Doing it on a shoestring.

Crofton on Wells - One chef friend and I laughed last night - Are they still open? Seriously though how is this place on the list considering some of the others I'll get to aren't? Maybe Suzy owns a large block of stock in Michelin? (I know they're separate.)

Everest - A blow to Jean Joho, apparently being French doesn't help.

Graham Elliot - I opened the place of course I'm biased and thrilled for the team.

Longman & Eagle - Someone on the Michelin team wears skinny jeans and has a beard, a real beard. The food is good but the décor is more Bib worthy then Star rated. And according to Michelin that's supposed to count.

NAHA - I'm shocked they could read the menu and decipher her font choice and listed farm/location of EVERY ingredient. My question is will her headshot be recent?

NoMI - Solid, easy choice for the rating.

Schwa - Best joke of the day someone made on twitter - did they answer the phone? Could easily be 2 but I don't think they care.

Seasons - Do all 5 Diamond hotels get a restaurant with at least 1 Star?

Sepia - Service alone gets them a Star the food is also very worthy!

Sixteen - Solid choice.

Spiaggia - I'll say it loud and proud - WTF! Seriously 1 Star? Is this the controversial inclusion at a lower rating? This wine list rivals most 3 stars globally for its depth based on the cuisine! The Cafe deserves 1 Star let alone the BIG restaurant. Someone %&(* the bed on this one.

Takashi - I'm mixed on this. Some love the place others could leave it. I had an ok experience but I can see the 1 Star rating.

Topolobampo - Apparently Rick's Star power did as much for him as it being French did for Joho.

Tru - A restaurant chewing on Maalox this morning. I'm not shocked but for me they need that direction and POP like they used to have.

Vie - Glad to see suburbia got invited to the table! Paul is a great chef and well deserved. Where's Western Springs again?

 

You'll notice a few places missing on both of the lists most notably Avec! Due to a tragedy, they were closed during final deliberations but if Michelin had been here 2 years eating and working they wouldn't have needed to worry over the decision. This is the equivalent of Michelin serving a WELL DONE steak that was ordered rare. I also have to ask where were Piccolo Sognio, Cafe Spiaggia, Cafe des Architects, Moto, Carlos, and Les Nomades. Chef Nugent can't catch a break! If they say Avec was closed so we weren't "sure," then I'll question the three restaurants rated due to chef's leaving L2O for the 3 Stars and Mado, Kith & Kin for the Bib list.

 

But it's all about the Benjamins. Michelin hopes to sell between 40,000-45,000 books at $18.99. That's about $850-750,000 in revenue give or take. If you think that doesn't matter Google - Michelin Los Angeles.

 

This list was actually leaked a day early on Yelp because somehow the book got sent early. You can keep this list classified in Europe like state secrets but Yelp breaks the news in Chicago? I can't wait to hear this story...it'll be as useful as the Maginot Line.

 

This list will be talked about for a long time and may give some restaurants a much needed shot in the arm for revenue. Diners will come globally to see what we offer. Despite my agree or disagree attitude we all have high expectations to meet.

 

chicagofoodsnob@hotmail.com

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  • Ah and here's another interview where Jean Luc addresses Avec
    http://chicago.eater.com/archives/2010/11/16/michelin-director-jeanluc-naret-on-the-michelin-stars.php

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