“Honestly, I was kind of upset,” he said. “I didn’t think we were so bad, to be dropped from the list. But last night, I had a dream that they called to let me know I had one star, and there is the phone call today, telling me they really enjoyed my restaurant a lot. It’s very exciting.”
The 2013 Guide also reestablished Sixteen, the luxurious perch in Trump Tower, as a one-star restaurant. Sixteen earned a star under original chef Frank Brunacci in 2011, but lost the star after Brunacci’s departure. Credit executive chef Thomas Lents, on board less than a year, for Sixteen’s triumphant return.
On the negative side, a number of restaurants that might reasonably have expected Michelin recognition were shut out. Balena and Yusho, two of the best new restaurants in Chicago, received no stars, and inspectors continued to deem Les Nomades, one of Chicago’s most well-established restaurants, unworthy. Paul Virant, who earned a Michelin star for Vie last year, not only failed to receive a star for his other restaurant, Perennial Virant, but also had his Vie star taken away.
El Ideas, Henri, MK, North Pond, Sprout — all among Chicago’s most highly regarded restaurants — all failed to receive stars.
And the suburbs — from the demoted Courtright’s and Vie to the underappreciated Quince, Restaurant Michael and Tallgrass, enjoyed a collective snub.
Michelin’s editor, who hinted that her inspectors are paying close attention to a number of as-yet-unstarred Chicago restaurants that could make next year’s guide “very exciting,” dismissed the notion that Chicago’s dwindling star numbers should be of concern.
“The numbers go up and down in every city every year, and there’s nothing negative about it,” she said. “What we find is what we find. I wouldn’t focus on the numbers specifically, because restaurants are always in flux, and things go up and down.”
Except that in the last several years, New York and San Francisco’s numbers continue to go up. Chicago, not so much.
Michelin Guide 2013 Chicago ratings
Three stars (exceptional cuisine): Alinea
Two stars (excellent cuisine): Graham Elliot, L2O
One star (very good restaurant): Acadia, Blackbird, Boka, Everest, Goosefoot, Longman & Eagle, Mexique, Moto, Naha, Schwa, Sepia, Sixteen, Spiaggia, Takashi, Topolobampo, Tru