Michelin, the world’s oldest restaurant guide, has finally recognized what local and national critics have been saying for well over a decade: that Blue Hill at Stone Barns is one of the country’s top culinary establishments. The anonymous inspectors published their annual list of top New York restaurants for 2020 today, awarding two out of three stars to Dan Barber’s tasting menu venue.
Also new to the list are two far more casual restaurants — Estela and Four Horsemen, restaurants that have been highly acclaimed in the dining scene for some time but have not been recognized by the Michelin guide with a star. Chef Ignacio Mattos’s Estela is still one of the city’s most renowned restaurants for high acid, thoughtfully plated new American fare. Meanwhile, Four Horsemen in Williamsburg is a restaurant industry favorite for both its natural wine list and tight, seasonally changing menu from chef Nick Curtola. Notably, neither has set menus, a format that Michelin historically favors.
Also on the more casual end of restaurants gaining a star is Prospect Heights newcomer Oxalis. The restaurant comes from Daniel alum Nico Russell, and offers its tasting menu for under $100, a rarity for the set menus restaurants with Michelin stars in New York. FiDi newcomer Crown Shy — from former NoMad chef James Kent — got a star this year as well.
On the higher end, Atomix, the chef’s counter restaurant by Ellia Park and Junghyun Park, was the only other restaurant to jump up to two stars; it joins Jungsik as the sole other modern Korean spot in New York to hold that honor.
Le Jardinier, chef Alain Verzeroli vegetable-leaning spot in Midtown, was among the fancier entrants to the single-starred ranks, as was Jonathan Benno’s eponymous and expensive Italian restaurant Benno at the Evelyn Hotel. Michelin has notoriously been stingy with awarding stars to Italian venues in New York; the impossible-to-get-into Rezdora, helmed by an Osteria Francescana alum, didn’t make the cut, while Lilia by Missy Robbins improbably remained starless yet again.
This is the first year that Michelin has assessed Westchester Country restaurants, though Stone Barns was the only restaurant from that region to be included. The guide does not frequently elevate restaurants to three star status, its highest honor, in its initial expansion to any given city. Just over 120 restaurants across the globe hold three stars, five of which are in New York: Masa, Per Se, the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, and Le Bernardin. All retained that rating from last year.
Stone Barns, however, might just be the toughest table of them all, with scant availability throughout December. The $278 menu, which features sustainably-minded fare, and which sometimes makes use of so-called food waste, can easily exceed thirty-courses and last five or more hours. Bill Addison, writing for Eater, named it the country’s best restaurant in 2016.
Ginza Ondera, which held two stars, dropped to the single star level after chef Masaki Saito left to open a sushi spot in Toronto. Marea, Michael White’s seafood-focused Italian spot, dropped down to the one star category as well.
A number of high profile restaurant fell off the starred selections altogether, including Babbo, in the first year since Mario Batali divested of the venue; Faro, the Bushwick Italian restaurant; Cafe Boulud, Daniel Boulud’s more casual counterpart to his tasting menu-only flagship on the Upper East Side; Cafe China, one of the city’s top Sichuan spots; Kyo Ya, the East Village Japanese staple; and Junoon, the heralded Indian restaurant in Flatiron.
New York once had three South Asian venues with Michelin stars. Now it has none, despite raves over Adda in Long Island City.
No restaurants from the $25 billion Hudson Yards complex, from Thomas Keller’s TAK Room to David Chang’s Kawi, earned a star in their debut year of eligibility.
One star means “high quality cooking, worth a stop;” two stars indicates “excellent cooking, worth a detour;” three stars signifies “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” No New York establishments have been elevated to three-star status since 2012.
Here’s the full list.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Eleven Madison Park
Blue Hill at Stone Barns (New)
Ichimura at Uchū
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Bar Uchu (Currently closed)
Bouley at Home
Crown Shy (New)
Four Horsemen (New)
Gotham Bar and Grill
Jeju Noodle Bar
Le Jardinier (New)
The Musket Room
The River Café
Sushi Ginza Onodera
Ukiyo (New, but currently closed)
ZZ’s Clam Bar