The Michelin Quest: How it began

This is going to be the first post of a series of posts. So I watch a good number of television food shows and I always hear these chefs having restaurants with these so called Michelin Stars. Apparently they’re somewhat of a big deal. Coming from Houston, we don’t have these things so I figured, I got a week in NYC to kill, why not try to see what all the hype is about. Also, I just recently got my Chase Sapphire Preferred card so I need to spend $3000 in the first 3 months to get my 40,000 point sign up bonus. Also Chase has a 2x points system on restaurants.

I set out to find these Michelin Star restaurants and get some reservations. I figured if I’m going to try them, I might as well try the best of the best, so I focused mainly on 2 and 3 star rated restaurants from 2014. I must make note of the year because I had wanted to try one of those Chef Ramsay Restaurants but The Ramsay and The London lost its 2 stars this year so i had to reluctantly strike that off my list. Other regrettable notables are Per Se and Masa; both were closed for the entire week I was in NYC. Apparently this is an annual thing where they close for a couple weeks…

A quick google search and the current 2 and 3 star restaurants are:

3Star:

  • Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
  • Daniel
  • Eleven Madison Park
  • Jean Georges
  • Le Bernardin
  • Masa
  • Per Se

2Star

  • Atera
  • Jungsik
  • Momofuku Ko
  • Marea
  • Soto

 

Many phone calls a month+ in advance and coordination with my sister and her husband, I managed a respectable schedule for the few free days I had available:

  1. Sunday: Marea
  2. Monday: Del Posto, Jungsik
  3. Tuesday: Le Bernardin, Daniel
  4. Wednesday: Eleven Madison Park
  5. Thursday: Jean Georges, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

All in all I had planned for a packed 20 Star schedule.

 

Day Zero:

So, the main reason I went to NYC was to attend a certification course. Unknown to me, for one of the dinners, we were taken to Oceana, a 1 star restaurant. Perhaps 1 star too many. Family style appetizers were very good. Trays of fresh oysters, clams, mussels and prawns on ice were amazing. Fried calamari and fish tacos, very excellent. Then came the ordered foods. I had the crab cakes and a steamed Maine lobster. Crab cakes visually were very lacking. I don’t have any pictures, but they looked like giant crab tots. Two shot glass sized cylindrical pieces of crab cakes that were overly salted and disappointing. Next came my lobster. The lobster, cooked perfectly and very fresh. No complaints. Except for the lack of anything non-lobster. You would think that at ~$40/lb you would get something with your lobster, but nope, all you get when you order the lobster is a lobster on a plate with a side of dipping sauce and butter.

Disappointing indeed but the evening was not lost thanks to good company and a couple glasses of Macallan 25. Looking forward to the next night, I was almost praying that the gap between One and Two Stars is a considerable one.

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