It’s Michelin season in America, and the guide’s upper echelons have undergone a major shake-up.
While Smyth in Chicago is the newest three-star restaurant in the country, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare in New York has lost all of its stars, Michelin announced on Tuesday night. The French tire company revealed the news during a first-ever ceremony that combined the reveals for New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
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“The famously anonymous Michelin Guide inspectors delivered huge news to punctuate a one-night-only celebration for these three culinary communities—buzzing with excitement and emotion, support and encouragement,” Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin Guides, said in a statement. “These milestone announcements solidify these cities as some of the best places in the world to visit for culinary adventures.”
The downgrading of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare comes after a rough summer for the restaurant. The tasting-menu spot closed temporarily while the former chef, César Ramirez, and the owner, Moneer Issa, battled it out in court. In early October, the restaurant reopened under the new leadership of chefs Marco Prins and Max Natmessnig, who had both previously worked there. Now, it is officially no longer listed in the New York Michelin Guide at all.
In past instances of a Michelin three-starred restaurant changing chefs like with Saison or Coi in San Francisco, both restaurants were downgraded to two stars in the subsequent guide. But the closure, paired with the chef change, was the difference. It is possible, however, that Chef’s Table regains at least some star status in the near future. A spokesperson for the Michelin Guide told Robb Report in October that the restaurant reopened after inspectors had already finished their visits for the 2023 guide.
“When a restaurant closes and reopens with a new chef and new menu, the Guide’s anonymous inspectors treat the restaurant essentially as a new restaurant, even if the restaurant name remains the same when it reopens,” he said in an email. Chef’s Table is “not part of the New York selection right now, but the inspectors look forward to the opportunity to soon visit and fully evaluate the new Chefs’ Table at Brooklyn Fare.”
While that restaurant will now work toward regaining its status next year, Chicago’s Smyth has to continue to live up to its newly bestowed three stars. Overseen by the chefs John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth first received two stars in 2017. Now the Michelin inspectors think that the restaurant has dialed it up a notch, calling out dishes like a gently smoked quail egg topped with caviar and served with barley caramel, and Wagyu accompanied by a truffle-flavored doughnut with marrow glaze.
In total—along with the new three-star restaurant—New York, Chicago, and D.C. saw two new two-stars and 12 new one-stars. Both two-star spots—Odo and Sushi Noz—are located in New York and serve up Japanese cuisine. The one-star restaurants, meanwhile, span the major cities and encompass a variety of cuisines. In Chicago, there’s Atelier and Indienne; in New York, Bōm, Essential by Christophe, Jōji, Meju, Restaurant Yuu, Shmoné, Sushi Ichimura, and Torrisi; and in D.C., Causa and Rania. Notably, that list includes a handful of restaurants serving cuisines sometimes overlooked by the Michelin inspectors, including Peruvian, Indian, and Israeli.
With that—and the rejiggering of three-star restaurants in America—it’s the dawn of a new day in the country’s fine-dining scene.
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