Japanese restaurants in New York City are seeing plenty of stars this year — in the Michelin Guide.
Sushi Ginza Onodera, a Midtown East outpost of the Tokyo-based international chain serving chef’s choice sushi at steep prices, has earned its second star in the 2018 Michelin Guide, and restaurants serving Japanese cuisine make up half of the six eateries joining the one-star category, according to a Monday news release.
“New York City is a cosmopolitan, sophisticated and international city. There is finance, fashion, architecture, tech, and the people working in those industries are sophisticated, international and well-traveled diners,” Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guide, said. “In New York City over the last number of years, there has been an insatiable appetite for Japanese food.”
With 15 Japanese restaurants awarded Michelin stars this year, “New York City shows what the audience for Japanese food has become,” he added.
Sushi Ginza Onodera — where a dinner omakase meal costs $300 — is the only Japanese restaurant in the U.S. to currently hold two stars, a status Michelin confers to eateries that its anonymous inspectors consider offering “excellent cuisine” and are “worth a detour.”
“We are honored that our focus on traditional Edomae-style sushi, attention to detail and commitment to highest quality fish flown from Tsukiji Market have been recognized by Michelin,” said the restaurant’s executive chef, Masaki Saito.
His eatery trails behind chef Masa Takayama’s eponymous restaurant in Midtown West, which maintained its three-star ranking for “exceptional cuisine” and “what may be the continent’s best sushi” in this year’s guide.
Joining the one-star category in the 2018 edition of the annual guidebook are: Midtown West’s Satsuki, a 10-seat sushi counter led by the son of renowned chef Toshio Suzuki; Midtown East’s Sushi Amane, an 8-seat bar launched by the alum of a Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurant in June; and the Lower East Side’s Bar Uchū, where head chef Samuel Clonts, formerly of the three-starred Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, is serving an upscale “kaiseki” tasting menu paired with Japanese whiskey.
Other eateries to score a new, single star include: the Flatiron Korean steakhouse Cote taking “kimchi to the next level,” according to Ellis; The Clocktower, a swanky space inside the Edison Hotel featuring high-end American fare with a British twist; and the reopened Rouge Tomate, a modern bistro relocated from the Upper East Side to Chelsea, cooking up meals with a health and sustainability-conscious bent.
“It’s very clean and delicious,” Ellis said about Rouge Tomate. “It doesn’t taste like health food and it’s a wonderful arrival on the scene.”
Michelin inspectors awarded stars to a total of 72 New York City restaurants serving 55 types of cuisine across three boroughs this year, down from 77 last year.
“It could be high-end Japanese ramen, or a Neapolitan pizza spot. It could cost $20 to a multiple of that,” Ellis said. “The important thing is that the Michelin guide offers restaurants for all budgets and occasions.”
Among restaurants missing from the latest edition of the Michelin Guide — a well-regarded resource for both locals and tourists — are the now-closed Public in NoLIta, the Scandinavian tasting-menu spot Luksus, and the new American restaurants Betony and Semilla. The guide has dropped two Japanese restaurants from its one-star pool, Cagen in the East Village and the Upper East Side outpost of the chain Sushi of Gari.
It has also taken chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s flagship new French restaurant on the lobby level of the Trump International Hotel and Tower down a peg, from three to two stars. This year has been an especially busy one for the restaurateur, who’s opened two new eateries — abcV and Public Kitchen — since January. (The latter, which sells itself as presenting the best of “New York” food, has had some mixed reviews; Eater’s Ryan Sutton called it the “city’s worst new restaurant” just this month.)
“Jean-Georges was one of the first three-star chefs when the guide first came out,” Ellis said. “Over many months and many meals, however, we haven’t found the same level of execution and emotion in his cooking that we want in a 3-star restaurant.”
“We much prefer to give stars than take them. We hope that he gets the star back,” Ellis added.
Five restaurants kept their shiny three stars this year: Masa, Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin, César Ramirez’s Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare and Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park, which reopened with a refurbished dining room and menu in October.
Michelin announces its starred restaurants a week after releasing a list of Bib Gourmand picks for New York City, rounding up 127 eateries serving high-quality food for reasonable prices.
With Rajvi Desai