When will NYC get a new 3 Michelin Star Restaurant?

New York has a ton of great restaurants, with a bevy of new ones coming on the scene every year. Yet, the pinnacle of fine dining in New York, as deemed by the all-knowing Michelin critics, seems to be a bit stale. It’s been 10 years since a NYC restaurant was thrust into the rarified 3-star level. To compare, SF has seen 4 restaurants rated 3 stars since 2017, London 4 since 2020, and 14 out of 31 French 3-stars were awarded since 2012.

What is going on in NYC? There is clearly a market. While I personally prefer eating at many of the 2 stars (Jungsik, Atomix, Atera, the Modern), there is a level that the heyday of EMP and Per Se hit for me that isn’t quite matched.

To my question: when do you all think New York will see a new 3-star restaurant? Further, do you think it will be via the elevation of an existing restaurant or a new entrant?

NB: this thread is not meant to be about the relative goodness (or politics) of the Michelin rating vs the NYT vs something else. I personally do not put a ton of stock into their precise ratings; it is the change (or lack thereof) in their views on NY restaurants vs other regions that I find interesting.

Currently, 5 New York restaurants carry the 3 Michelin Star rating:

  • Per Se (2006*)
  • Le Bernardin (2006*)
  • Masa (elevated from 2 stars to 3 stars in 2009)
  • Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (2 stars in 2011, elevated to 3 stars in 2012)
  • Eleven Madison Park (1 star in 2010, elevated to 3 stars in 2012)

New York has lost a few 3-star restaurants both to demotion and closings:

  • Alain Ducasse at the Essex House (3 stars in 2006*, closed in 2007)
  • Daniel (elevated to 3 stars in 2010, demoted to 2 stars in 2015)
  • Jean Georges (3 stars in 2006*, demoted to 2 stars in 2018)

The 2006 edition was the first of the Michelin Guide to New York City. It was the first time that Michelin published a Red Guide for a region outside Europe.

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Hopefully never.

The current list of NYC 3 stars is all you need to know. The questions are really: “who wants to open a restaurant like these? Who wants to eat there? Who wants to work there?”

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Interesting question

The question I keep scratching my head at is if there currently is a restaurant in NYC ‘worthy’ of 3 stars that doesn’t have it? Of the current 2 star places is there any that deserves 3? I don’t know. Atomix maybe? Or perhaps one of the high end sushi spots like Yoshino, Noz, or Shion? I’m not quite sure, I don’t quite see it. And while I love places the the Modern and Jungsik, I don’t really see them in their current form as 3 star places.

The question I ask is if there are any current restaurants in NYC aiming for 3 stars? Maybe one of the demoted ones like Daniel and Jean-Georges seek to recoup it, but who knows. The feeling I get from most of the 2 star places is that they are quite happy with maintaining their 2 stars status rather than aiming for a third.

I imagine a newly minted 3 star restaurant is more likely to come from a new restaurant— one explicitly designed to obtain 3 stars rather than being elevated from the current pantheon of Michelin star restaurants. But nowadays, I don’t imagine there are many who want to open that type of establishment.

The other fun question to throw out there: out of the current 3 star restaurants in NYC, are there any that deserve demotion? :berserker:

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These are good questions. Clearly, restauranteurs are doing it elsewhere, so there is motivation. Equally, it seems patrons flock to these types of restaurants so there is demand. My curiosity is why not NYC? Is it structural? Or is it something else?

As @Rodrigo_B said, I think a lot of restaurants in NYC are probably comfortable where they are.

@ybarselah why never? I can imagine various reasons, but curious for you to elaborate.

I will avoid the demotion question (though we can discuss at next WWC :slight_smile: )

I don’t think anyone, other than maybe Atomix, is gunning for 3 stars (as you said, a lot of these places, in their current form, wouldn’t hit the mark).

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relevancy. michelin isn’t as relevant as it used to be, if at all (other than for a shrinking sliver of the dining public and egos of chefs and investors).

on the other side, there are myriad ways to find out about restaurants with deeper and more timely information for those diners that care.

said another way, michelin needs NYC more than NYC needs michelin. by a lot.

it’s a nice to have. it’s not worth chasing.

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Are you saying there are NYC restaurants that could hit that level but the particular things you need to do are not in line with what most fine dining restaurants in NYC are aiming at? If so, that makes sense to me and is how I experience most NYC dining.

My bet would be on Yoshino. If they wanted to get it I think Aska, Atomix and Jungsik could.

To get three Michelin stars you need to focus on ultra high end ingredients, caviar, waygu, Truffles etc. The problem is you need to go to such a high price point you might get the three stars but fail from a financial standpoint.

Of the current three stars I don’t think Per Se or Le Bernardin deserve it but I have not been to either since pre-pandemic but I did not think they were deserving then.

Not going to mention the name a restaurant I am familiar with that was a 2 star and on the top 50 list hired a Michelin consultant and he said if you want it then use as many luxury ingredients as you can. They loaded every dish up with caviar, uni, truffle, waygu, rare fish etc. and next year the got it. This restaurant is not in the U.S.

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Thanks Robert for this. The rubric maps to my experience. Per Se and LB are…tired.

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a version of that for sure, but really back to relevancy - you’re chasing something that isn’t worth chasing. at some previous point in history, it was worth chasing.

robert aludes this this as well. akin to a wine spectator grand wine list award (or whatever it’s called).

when you add on the fact that any news from michelin is really about taking away or adding stars, that just makes the entire idea worthless to an individual restaurant; you got the star(s) and now you need to maintain it. but michelin’s incentive is to make news, i.e., changing stars.

edit: went to le bern a few weeks ago and it was laughable. the tuna foie thing is the only thing worth eating and if you’ve had it once in your life, you’re good. the rest of the meal was akin to a high-end country club trying to cook from a le bern cookbook.

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Appreciate it. Helpful.

When you look at the current slate of fine dining in NYC, putting aside the stars, do you see it as vibrant and dynamic?

there’s no US city that comes close - and more important, the avg standard as increased dramatically. i’d say a few years ago it kinda felt that there was a stall, though that may be more me than reality as i’ve lived here for over 20 years, so maintaining good perspective is difficult. NYC is now almost overwhelming in new and interesting.

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Hell yes!

NYC (including the boroughs) might be the most exciting dining city in the world.

LA is the most dynamic in terms of how fast it is changing and for the better.

San Francisco is in a sad state of steady decline.

Meanwhile NYC is still the best and continues to add new restaurants.

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Great to hear. This is how I experience it as well. It feels like restaurants are producing incredible concepts with clear focus. They also feel a lot less stuffy and performative.

correct, and that’s why i framed my questions in the way i did; restaurants are businesses that have owners, investors, and employees. the overhead and insane hoops necessary to achieve michelin recognition are contra to the business realities. what is the value of working in one of these restaurants other than saying you did it to achieve… working in another of those restaurants?

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Makes sense and it is a helpful framing I did not readily have.

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I explain the restaurant business like this…Danny Meyer gave away Eleven Madison for free (three stars, #1 restaurant in the world) but made $100s of millions with Shake Shack.

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I wonder if the Le Bernadin naysayers have been in the last few years.

I would go periodically for lunch for convenience and value, but never was excited. Went for dinner last year (attrscted by price and a new vegetarian option for my wife) and was blown away.

They also now have a vegetarian option as good as the regular meal.

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3 weeks ago. we ordered 2/3 of the menu offerings plus supplements.

mostly tasteless, comical service errors, individual piece of fish however were cooked well. but nothing was very good, a few dishes were “nice”

a bouillabaisse-type sauce tasted by itself was indistinguishable in taste and texture from a can of campbell’s tomato soup. though i bet the latter would be better seasoned.

the bread basket - paraded and offered several times throughout the meal with multiple offerings - didn’t taste as good as what you’d get at your whole foods bakery.

laughable.

we had some nice wines though.

for free?