Danny Meyer’s The Modern Is The Big NYC Michelin Winner for 2016
by Ryan Sutton Sep 30, 2015, 5:29p @qualityrye
Here are the Michelin Star ratings for 2016.
Michelin, arguably the world’s most recognized restaurant guide, unveiled its 2016 star ratings for New York restaurants today, and the big winner was Danny Meyer’s The Modern, was elevated to two stars under chef Abram Bissell. Anonymous inspectors award worthy venues with either one star (“a very good restaurant in its category”), two stars (“excellent cuisine, worth a detour”), or three stars (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”). No new restaurants were admitted into the three star category this year.
Another big winner was the service-included Atera ($235), which retained its two stars after chef Matthew Lightner left earlier this year; he was replaced by Danish chef Ronny Emborg. Semilla in Williamsburg, whose affordable vegetable tasting menu ($85) won over critics across town, earned a coveted star in its first year of business. Gabriel Kreuther, the longtime chef at The Modern, also earned a star for his eponymous effort on Bryant Park.
Michelin originally planned on announcing its results during a gala tonight in Lower Manhattan. Then something called “Twitter” happened. Excited chefs, who learned of their individual rankings after receiving phone calls from Michelin, started sharing their results all over social media yesterday and today. So the Red Guide went ahead and released its full list of starred restaurants a bit early.
Here are some initial thoughts on this year’s guide, followed by the full list.
The Modern’s elevation to two stars makes it the highest Danny Meyer-rated restaurant in the guide, and the first Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant to hold more than a single star since Meyer sold the three-starred Eleven Madison Park to chef Daniel Humm and General Manager Will Guidara. The Modern is Meyer’s most expensive restaurant; set menus in the formal dining room run $98-$138.
Expensive – but not necessarily exorbitant – Japanese restaurants made up a good deal of the new starred selections. Among those venues were Cagen, which charges $130 for kappo tastings, Hirohisa, whose omakase menus run $100-$150, Sushi Yasuda, where a service-included meal will run $100-$150 before sake, and Tempura Matsuri, which charges $200 for a tasting that culminates in a bunch of fried stuff. Okay maybe that last’s one’s exorbitant.
Japanese restaurants also made up some of the bigger snubs of the year. Nakazawa, which received a rare four-star New York Times review in 2013 (as well as a three star review from this critic), was left off the list for yet another year. Also omitted were Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau’s enormously popular Shuko ($135-$175), and Nancy and Tim Cushman’s Boston-import O Ya ($185-$245). And sushi spot 15 East lost its star after chef Masato Shimizu left the restaurant to move to Bangkok with his wife.
Cosme, the New York debut of Enrique Olvera, arguably the world’s most acclaimed Mexican chef, did not earn a spot on starred list for 2016, its first year of eligibility. The omission puts Michelin at odds with local reviewers; the New York Times, New York Magazine, and this critic all awarded three stars to the Flatiron District restaurant. Casa Enrique remains the city’s only Michelin-starred Mexican spot.
All six of New York’s three Michelin-starred restaurants kept that honor. Those venues, as one might expect, are all quite expensive. They are: Per Se ($310, service included), Brooklyn Fare ($306, service-included), Le Bernardin ($140-$205), Jean-Georges ($138-$218), Eleven Madison Park ($225), and Masa ($450, America’s priciest restaurant).
On the Thai front, Zabb Elee in Queens was kicked off the list, but Issan-themed Somtum Der, known for its incendiary papaya salads, was added, as was Uncle Boons, whose lamb laab and rotisserie chicken earned it a glowing Eater review in April.
Major Food Group kept its stars for Carbone, a Rao’s-style red sauce scene where high-rollers eat $63 veal chops, and for ZZ’s Clam Bar, where a just few bites of Golden Eye snapper will set you back $50. But Michelin withheld stars from the group’s two newer (and slightly more affordable) restaurants: Dirty French, a love letter to global gallic fare, and Santina, a hotspot underneath the High Line that hawks chickpea crepes with hot sauce.
Anissa, Anita Lo’s very adult and very excellent fine dining spot in the Village, was left off the starred list for a second year in a row. New York Times critic Pete Wells upgraded the restaurant to three stars in 2014.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list was The Finch, a small American spot in Clinton Hill by Gabe McMackin (Stone Barns, Gramercy Tavern). Eater’s Robert Sietsema enjoyed his meals there, praising the ambitious offerings in a two-star review. He wrote: “Best is a warm salad of shaved lamb tongue ($12) — impossibly tender glottal organs wagging in a puddle of lemon puree. Who knew lamb tongues were so delicate and tasty?
Jonathan Benno, the longtime Per Se chef who went on to Italian-inspired acclaim at Lincoln (after a somewhat rocky start), did not earn a star for his efforts in the 2016 guide.
Pizza, barbecue, and ramen, three of New York’s strongest and most vibrant cuisines, still remain unrepresented on the New York starred list. Instead, restaurants focusing on those wares, such as Roberta’s, Mu Ramen, and Hometown Barbecue, are relegated to the Bib Gourmands, the Michelin guide’s selection of cheap eats. Not impressive.
Rebelle, a gallic collaboration between chef Daniel Eddy (his raw fluke grenobloise with brown butter and capers is the real deal), and wine guru Patrick Cappiello (he only pours selections from the U.S. or France) earned a star. Contra, by contrast, the neo-bistrot that frequently hosts pop-ups by some of France’s most important chefs, was left off the starred list again.
Estela by Ignacio Mattos, which President Barack Obama famously visited in 2014, was left off the list for another year. Michelin is well known for withholding stars, for no apparent reason, from wildly popular restaurants beloved by locals and critics alike; Roberta’s and Momofuku Ssam Bar are both longtime members of that group.
The 2016 New York Michelin List of Starred Restaurants:
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Eleven Madison Park
Delaware and Hudson
The Finch (new)
Gabriel Kreuther (new)
Gotham Bar and Grill
Luksus at Tørst
Musket Room (The)
M. Wells Steakhouse
Pok Pok Ny
River Café (The)
Somtum Der (new)
Sushi of Gari
Sushi Yasuda (new)
Uncle Boons (new)
ZZ’s Clam Bar
Two Michelin Stars