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20 July 2009


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love all the amazing pictures!


I'm surprised the "poached" chefs don't follow the Western example of multiple-kitchen executorship. (Consider Alain Ducasse's concurrent Michelin-starred restaurants in Monaco, Paris, and New York, for instance.)

As for Le Guide Michelin itself, many of us still remember the 2005 skulduggery in Belgium that saw 50,000 copies of the Benelux edition yanked from bookstores because they contained a review of Ostend Queen—a restaurant that had not yet opened at the time of publication! Former Micheliner Pascal Rémy cites additional cases in his tell-all book.

Thanks for your comments, Robert-Gilles.

Robert-Gilles Martineau

We seem to agree there.
The interesting thing in Japan is that regional food is slowly supplanting Tokyo's overblown restaurants, although they keep poaching our best chefs.
For example, out of the 10 Michelin 3-star restaurants in Tokyo (although I do have some dire reservations about Michelin-sponsored scams) three have a chef recruited in Shizuoka!
Mind you, Shizuoka's position is a bit special:
it grows 80% of Japanese wasabi, 50% of Japanese green tea, is the biggest fish contributor to Tsukiji (another rip-off between you and me. Ask Shizuoka Sushi chefs what they they think of Tsukiji!) and also organic veg and so on and so on.
You will understand why it is easy to write about food in Shizuoka, probably the most unknown (hidden) gastronomic treasure in Japan!


An interesting point, Robert-Gilles. This year, New York's chefs and restaurants won nearly every top prize at the James Beard awards. Among them, Jean Georges, a Michelin three-star recipient, was honored with the Outstanding (United States) Restaurant Award.

Gotham's restaurant business is among the most competitive in the world. Even amid an excellent economy, 70 percent of new restaurants here fail or change hands within the first five years.

That said, it should be noted that certain neighborhoods are underserved by upscale restaurants. Chez Oskar was a pioneer in Fort Greene and has catered to the tastes of its surroundings. I'm not sure whether it would enjoy the same level of success in Manhattan or, for that matter, in nearby Brooklyn Heights. Mediocre eateries can do well in areas hungry for dining options.

Thanks for the comment.

Robert-Gilles Martineau

It seems that living in an overlarge city has its disadvantages as you lack references, whereas a small to medium city will probably offer you more reliable restaurants on hand. Difference in competition or is it easier for mediocre restaurants to hide in a larger city?

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