Monday, October 02, 2006

Michelin answers for star slaughter

Michelin president Jim Micali addresses the one-star review for Chez Panisse and whether his reviewers are all snooty Frenchmen in the updated version of my Business Times article (free link).

Here are the star rankings in a more organized format. I put Chronicle stars in parenthesis -- this is usually but not always Michael Bauer. I also added winners of four or five Mobil stars out of five possible, and winners of AAA five diamonds, out of five possible. Ones I think are interesting in bold.

Three stars:
  • French Laundry (4* Bauer) (Mobil 5-star).

Two stars:
  • Aqua (3.5* Bauer) (Mobil 4-star)
  • Michael Mina (3.5* B)
  • Manresa (4* B)
  • Cyrus (3.5* B)

One star:
  • Fleur de Lys (4* Bauer) (Mobil 4-star)
  • Rubicon (3* B)
  • Bushi-Tei (3* B)
  • Quince (3* B)
  • Range (3* B)
  • Acquerello (3.5* B)
  • La Folie (4* B) (Mobil 4-star)
  • Masa's (3.5* B) (Mobil 4-star)
  • Ritz-Carlton Dining Room (4* B) (AAA 5-diamond) (Mobil 5-star)
  • Gary Danko (3.5* B) (AAA 5-diamond) (Mobil 5-star)
  • Boulevard (3* B)
  • Fifth Floor (3* B) (Mobil 4-star)
  • Chez Panisse (4* B) (Gourmet mag's #2 restaurant in country)
  • Sushi-Ran (3* B)
  • Chez TJ (2.5* B)
  • Auberge du Soleil (3* B) (Mobil 4-star)
  • Bistro Jeanty (3* B)
  • Bouchon (3* B)
  • La Toque
  • Terra (3.5* B) (Mobil 4-star)
  • Dry Creek Kitchen (3.5* B)
  • Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant (3.5 *B)
  • K and L Bistro (3* B)
No stars:

This is not a comprehensive list. There are more than 300 restaurants in the Michelin guide in this category. These are just the ones who have strong accolades elsewhere but no Michelin star.
  • Campton Place (Mobil 4-star) (2.5* B) (new chef after Mobil rating, before Bauer and now Michelin)
  • Jardiniere (3.5* Bauer)
  • Chez Panisse Cafe (3.5* B)
  • Farallon (3.5* B)
  • Oliveto (3.5* B) (Oakland was ROBBED!)
  • One Marker (3.5* B)
  • Redd (3.5* B) (Top Ten new restaurant list from SF Magazine)
  • Silks (3.5* B)
  • Zuni (3.5* B)

Here's the Michelin press release.

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V Smoothe said...

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October 02, 2006 12:14 PM  
V Smoothe said...

Honestly, I'm really surprised that Chez Panisse was recognized at all. Especially when you look at the company it is in, most of those restaurants are serving food in an entirely different class. I'd guess the star was mostly a nod to Ms. Water's legacy.

Other than that, rankings were pretty much what I'd expected. I'd predicted that Laundry would get the only three star rating, and 3/4 of my two star picks were right (I guessed Dining Room rather than Cyrus). The one star list was much longer than I'd predicted (I figured there would be about a dozen, but that's my fault for tending to overlook the wine country).

One note - in your article, you kind of make it sound like getting only one star is an insult - it isn't. Getting a single Michelin star is a HUGE deal for any establishment and any chef - everyone on that list should be incredibly flattered and excited. Hell, I'm going to be popping open some bubbly tonight just because I used to cook at one of the single star restaurants - this is an enormous boost to my resume.

October 02, 2006 12:17 PM  
V Smoothe said...

You might want to also note the Exxon Mobil ratings for the applicable restaurants on the list - I think that their ratings much more comparable to Michelin in scope and purpose (and respect among the larger food community)than Bauer's.

October 02, 2006 12:21 PM  
V Smoothe said...

You know, after looking at the list a little more, I think I only have one real problem with it - what the fuck is Rubicon doing in that company? I will never understand the crazy press that place gets.

October 02, 2006 12:31 PM  
Ryan said...

v smoothe, very good point about the Mobil rankings being more appropriate. I added those to the list, including the four stars which I found. I also added AAA five-diamond (could not find four-diamond).

Also, added a list of restaurants with mobile four-star or better or Bauer 3.5-star or better that did not get Michelin stars.

I've never eaten at Rubicon! Maybe the DeNiro connection??

October 02, 2006 2:18 PM  
V Smoothe said...

Ryan -

Don't waste your money! I guess the celebrity connection must have something to do with it (maybe the wine list as well), but I've persistently found the accolades that place receives totally baffling. I've eaten there three times, and twice the food was pretty uninspiring - the sort of thing you'd expect to get in your standard nice-ish Bay Area restaurant (a place like Caffe Verbena) - a decent meal, but nothing you'd want to go out of your way to eat. The third time it was just straight up bad. (I don't keep returning on purpose, BTW. It just happens somehow.). Other people I've spoken with have shared my experience. I just don't get it.

What a handy little reference guide you have there!

I couldn't find a 2006 list, but Bay Area four diamond 2005 restaurants were:
Berkeley - Jordan's at the Claremont (have you ever eaten here?)
Lafayette - The Duck Club Restaurant
SF - Big 4, Campton Place, Charles Nob Hill, Fifth Floor, Fleur de Lys, Hawthorne Lane, Jardiniere, Masa's, Moose's, Pacific, Roy's, Seasons at Four Seasons, Silks
Yountville - Domaine Chandon

AAA is so weird.

October 02, 2006 4:04 PM  

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