Michelin announced its 2022 stars for New York restaurants on Thursday evening at a ceremony held at Peak, a Hudson Yards restaurant that sells panoramic views of the city alongside a $40 salt-baked sweet potato. In a break from stateside Michelin tradition, the guide released the names of its winners in a 50 Best-style countdown, with a costumed Michelin Man and wisecracking hosts to boot.
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka took the stage in a surprise twist, the final act of a Michelin award season that seemed engineered to attract eyeballs. The pair guided spectators through the night, doling out awards and often mispronouncing the names of restaurants and their owners. “We have many more names to try and butcher pronunciations of,” a Negroni-wielding Harris said at one point. Stars were announced in ascending order, following a dramatic video set to a track that should have been saved for the fifth season of Stranger Things.
Eleven Madison Park held onto its three stars, becoming the country’s first vegan restaurant with that distinction; Semma is now the city’s only Michelin-starred Indian spot; and modern Korean star Atomix, considered by many to be a contender for three-star status this year, was once again awarded two stars.
Here are five winners and three losers from this year’s Michelin awards in New York City.
Winner: Eleven Madison Park
Local reviewers questioned nearly everything about Eleven Madison Park’s pivot to a plant-based menu last year, from chef Daniel Humm’s cultural awareness and notions of sustainability to a beet that “tastes like Lemon Pledge and smells like a burning joint,” per a Pete Wells column. Michelin disagreed, letting the venue keep its third Michelin star — effectively declaring it the top vegan restaurant in the world.
The Red Guide’s continued benediction of Eleven Madison will likely raise a few extra eyebrows, especially given Humm’s relatively new entrance to the plant-based world. Even though New York has a longstanding meat-free cooking scene, Eleven Madison is somehow just one of two local vegan or vegetarian spots with Michelin stars. The other is Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy, whom the inspectors awarded a single star last night after a decade plus of service. — Ryan Sutton, chief critic
Winner: One single Indian restaurant
Once upon a time, New York had three Michelin-starred Indian restaurants. Then all of a sudden it had none. That changed last night when the inspectors awarded a star to Semma, the Greenwich Village South Indian spot — famous for its fragrant gunpowder dosas — helmed by Roni Mazumdar and chef Vijay Kumar. Still, one wonders what the inspectors aren’t seeing at Dhamaka, Junoon, Adda, Sona, and any number of the city’s vegetarian South Asian spots. — RS
Winner: The city’s modern Korean scene
Modern Korean restaurants were among the night’s big winners, with inspectors doling out stars to Mari, Sungchul Shim’s handroll omakase spot; Oiji Mi, Brian Kim’s Flatiron tasting menu restaurant; and Joomak Banjum, a creative Koreatown newcomer where chef Jiho Kim and pastry chef Kelly Nam blur the line between sweet and savory fare.
Michelin has long kept an eye on New York’s modern Korean restaurant community, one of the most distinctive and acclaimed aspects of the city’s fine dining scene, but the inspectors have yet to elevate one of those restaurants to three-star status. Both Atomix and Jungsik, considered prime contenders for an upgrade, were again held at the two-star level. — RS
Winner: The guys who opened Crown Shy
Jeff Katz and James Kent, the duo who opened upscale Financial District restaurant Crown Shy, won big this year despite recently parting ways. The restaurateurs’ new restaurants — Al Coro, the fine dining palace from Katz and chef Melissa Rodriguez, and Saga, a tasting menu restaurant from Kent — were the only two new additions to the two-star category this year, bringing the total number of two-star venues in New York City to 13. The Manhattan restaurants are priced at $245 and $295 per person, respectively. Crown Shy, which was awarded a single Michelin star in 2019 and is now overseen exclusively by Kent, held onto that status on Thursday night. — Luke Fortney, reporter
Loser: Major Food Group
Winner: Sushi spots you can’t afford
Michelin has publicly stated that “value for money,” is a key component of its rating system. That’s a curious datapoint given the inspectors’ track record of heaping stars upon virtually any local sushi spot that charges $400 or more per person. Among the newest members of this year’s starred sushi class are Noz 17 ($400) and Shion 69 Leonard Street ($420), as well as Icca and Yoshino (closer to $500 after tip). As for Masa, that plutocratic venue kept its third star — the country’s only sushi spot with that accolade — after raising its prices so dramatically that a solo diner will now pay over $1,000 at the counter before a single drop of sake. Some value! — RS
Loser: Too many cuisines to count
Historically, the starred selections have been pricey restaurants with European, Japanese, or Korean leanings, while the Bibs showcase a larger swath of the city’s globally minded culinary styles. With the exception of Jeju Noodle Bar, no ramen or ramyun spot has earned a star in the city, a fact that’s also true of barbecue spots, pizzerias, taco stands, modern Vietnamese fare, Uzbek skewer spots, or scores of other culinary styles that New York is famous for. The city will also go another year without a Michelin-starred Thai spot. — RS
Does catering and-or hosting a Michelin ceremony guarantee recognition on award night? It seemed possible, after Manhattan restaurants Don Angie, Semma, and Sushi Noz, who provided food for the event, were handed well-earned stars in quick succession. However, as the night wore on, it became clear that Peak, the host of the awards who was previously recognized as an addition to Michelin’s New York guide, would end the night empty-handed as far as Bibs and stars go but possibly with some more name recognition. — LF