Michelin’s 2022 Bib Gourmand awards are here — in part.
The French tiremaker’s anonymous inspectors will unveil their full list of stars for New York City next week, making the first time the Red Guide has issued ratings since Daniel Humm transformed Eleven Madison Park into a vegan restaurant, a move that raised a few eyebrows among local critics.
Today, however, the famed Red Guide announced the 18 new entrants to its so-called Bibs, a selection of venues generally offering a more affordable bill of fare than restaurants hawking omakase sushi, foie gras, and caviar — or in the case of Eleven Madison, fake plant-based caviar.
Among the biggest new entrants to the Bibs are Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya’s acclaimed South Asian spot, Dhamaka; Yellow Rose, a popular hub for flour tortillas and tacos in the East Village; and Rolo’s, the heralded wood-fired restaurant in Ridgewood. Michelin will release the longer selection of 125 Bibs, including restaurants remaining on the list from previous years, on October 6.
These are ostensibly restaurants where patrons can drop by for two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for under $49 before tax or gratuity. The Bibs, considered a legitimate award among some chefs and observers, are viewed by others as a consolation prize, with good reason. Any Bib recipient is ineligible for a star in that year’s guidebook.
That means Dhamaka, a packed South Asian spot that highlights overlooked regional dishes from India — and that topped “best of” lists from the New York Times and Eater — will be denied a star this year. Dhamaka’s Pandya also won the James Beard Award for best chef of New York State.
Mazumdar and Pandya’s Southern Indian Semma, curiously left off the Bibs, could make it into the starred ranks, however.
Other notable new entrants include Runner Up, Daniel Eddy’s more casual sequel to Winner; Zaab Zaab, an Isan Thai restaurant in Elmhurst, Sobre Masa, Diana and Zack Wangeman’s tortilleria in Bushwick, and Chick Chick, a Korean Fried chicken spot on the Upper West Side.
Michelin’s starred ratings have long favored upscale Japanese, French, Korean, and new American spots, and while select Thai and Indian restaurants have received stars in the past in New York, those venues are largely relegated to the cheap eats-style Bibs, along with Vietnamese, South American, and Chinese venues.
Whether many of these restaurants truly belong in a list of affordable venues is a different question, especially during an era where the culinary world has been grappling with how society sometimes undervalues the labor and ingredients of certain non-Western cuisines.
Actually spending less than $50 at a few of these venues would involve a very restrictive meal; that’s long been the case but it’s all the more true in this current era of rampant inflation — with scores of restaurants around the city raising the price of everything from pizza slices to tamales to pork shoulders. Michelin, too, has adjusted its standards in this regard, but not by much. For over a decade, the Red Guide has held the Bibs pricing limit to $40; the inspectors upped that amount by a somewhat modest $9 in 2022.
One could still easily drop over $100 per person on a full meal at Rolo’s or Dhamaka.
Following is the full list of new Bibs. Michelin will release the remainder of the list on October 6, along with the starred selections.
The 2022 Bib Gourmands for New York City
Szechuan Gourmet (Midtown West)
Chick Chick (Upper West Side)
Covacha (Upper West Side)
Dhamaka (Lower East Side)
Sami & Susu (Lower East Side)
Dumpling Lab (East Village)
Soda Club (East Village)
Yellow Rose (East Village)
Jiang Nan (Flushing)
Zaab Zaab (Elmhurst)
Le Fanfare (Greenpoint)
Runner Up (Park Slope)
Sobre Masa (Bushwick)
Chutney Masala (Irvington, Westchester)
TVB by: Pax Romana (Westchester)