The Michelin New York 2012 ratings were announced this afternoon. As always, we’re back with our tabular listing, after the jump, of the stars from 2006 (the first year) to the present.
There are fewer “head-scratchers” this year — actually, no new stars that seem completely ridiculous, like Shalizar in 2010 or Heartbreak in 2012. There are a few hold-overs, like Jewel Bako, that some people violently disagree with, but I don’t consider that as bad—if “bad” it is—as a new error, and there aren’t a lot of those.
Most of the city’s professional critics hate the Michelin ratings. They don’t want to admit that a French tire company is as good at it as they are. The fact is, all of the pro critics get restaurants wrong; sometimes, ridiculously so. Unlike Michelin, they practically never revisit their errors.
To give a couple of examples: Jonathan Benno’s Lincoln Ristorante had a terrible start in the fall of 2011. Most of the early reviews were lukewarm. Those critics are probably never going back. It’s not that they’re cruel or stubborn: they just don’t have the mandate to keep re-checking their old reviews. Lincoln now has a Michelin star. The tire guide was able to recognize the improvement. The pro critics couldn’t.
Picholine was demoted in 2012 from two Michelin stars to one, and this year from one star to zero, reflecting the restaurant’s decline. The New York Times? The best they can do is Frank Bruni’s three-star review from 2006, not likely to be updated anytime soon.
Many people found Gordon Ramsay’s previous two-star rating incomprehensible, but no local critic had reviewed it in years. People who said the rating was wrong had no clue. How could they? Anyhow, this year it suffered a rare demotion from two stars to zero. Given the restaurant’s recent troubles, it is no surprise.
Of course, there are individual Michelin ratings I disagree with. No one could construct such a list and please everybody; my list no doubt would displease some of you. But by and large it’s a more accurate list than any professional critic in this city can produce, simply because the pro critics spend so much of their time at restaurants that are brand new, and have only rare opportunities to revisit them.
The summary is below, the tabular listing after the jump.
- Jungsik, from one tar to two
- Babbo, from zero stars to one (last starred in 2008). I am not sure what cost Babbo its star in 2009, or what changed to get it back again.
Demotions: (not counting closed restaurants)
- Gordon Ramsay at the London, from two stars to zero.
- Picholine, from one star to zero.
Starred in First Year Eligible:
- Ichimura at Brushstroke
- Le Restaurant
- The Musket Room
The top three received multiple favorable reviews from the professional critics. The latter two have not, but they’re not complete head-scratchers like some of the Tire Man’s past star awards.
Other Restaurants Starred for the First Time:
- Caviar Russe. Probably the most surprising newly-starred place, but this restaurant has gone almost totally under the critical radar for years. Who knew?
- Telepan. Much deserved after all these years.