SF Michelin Ratings – My Thoughts
The San Francisco Michelin ratings are out and everyone is blogging / reporting about them. Despite our gripes, we all love these sorts of comparisons – they’re fun puzzles and games, if nothing else. Most people complain that Michelin hasn’t included their favorite restaurant but I think the ratings are quite generous – much more than I would be. I will play into the publicity game – my thoughts are below for places I’ve been:
- French Laundry – despite being perfect to a fault, it is the epitome of 3-star dining in France. And, believe it or not, it is just as good as many of them. My review.
- Aqua – my last meal was many moons ago, but I might pop in for a few lunches over the next few months. My last meal was one star, striving to be two star.
- Manresa – obviously I am a big fan of the restaurant and, from a food perspective based on my travels over the last two years, it’s easily operating at a 3-star level. Some of my many reviews.
- Cyrus – this is a restaurant that desperately grasps for the three-star level but one star would be fair. My review.
- Chez TJ – the big surprise of this year’s results, a 2-star restaurant in trying-so-hard-to-be-trendy downtown Mountain View. I’ll probably give it a shot sometime early next year.
- Meadowood – another surprise, the menu looks a little dull. I’ll let others test the waters first.
- Bouchon – quite generous.
- Chez Panisse - the holy sacred restaurant rightfully deserves one star. Everyone that loves food should try it, but it’s solid high one star territory. My last meal (out of four or so.)
- Coi – it’s shooting for two stars but my meal would be a solid one star. Coi is one of the rare SF one-star restaurants that could move up to two stars. My review.
- Farmhouse Inn- in my mind, the epitome of a solid one-star restaurant – very good to great ingredients cooked well. My last review (I’ve been 3-4x since.)
- Gary Danko- it is nothing more than a one-star restaurant. If people really believe this is fine dining, or a great restaurant, I would only advise they get out more.
- Quince- the epitome of a great one-star – very good to great ingredients cooked near perfectly. Quince could make the two-star list if they wanted to go that route. My review.
- Redd- it’s trying to be a one-star place but I wouldn’t give it a star yet. My review.
- Sushi Ran- no way.
- El Paseo – various reviews look encouraging and it looks like a place that is trying to reach one-star.
- Marinus – the chef is well respected locally and internationally.
- Pilar – to me, this is also the epitome of a one-star restaurant. A glaring omission.
- Slanted Door – the food is merely ok, it definitely didn’t deserve one star.
- Zuni Cafe – I still fail to see the magic of this place.
Some might argue why a French tire company should be trusted to rate our restaurants. There might be some validity to their argument but the Michelin guide remains the best guide to our fine dining scene. Zagats? Did I ever tell you about my highly-rated John Ash meal? Yelp or Chowhound? They’re both good for discovery but only sometimes for content. SF Chronicle? They don’t really seem to have the resources to properly cover the dining scene.
Thanks to the new Michelin ratings, I will definitely try Chez TJ and re-try Aqua.