Christmas came early for some Chicago chefs. Due to the Chicago selections for the first-ever Michelin Guide being leaked last night by a mysterious yelper, the star announcement came a day early to much anticipation, buzz and rumors. After two years of rigorous research by Michelin’s team of anonymous inspectors, Chicago joins New York and San Francisco as the only American cities with an annual Michelin Guide.
As predicted, Alinea and L20 took top honors, each receiving 3 stars for their famed foam-heavy tasting menus despite L20 Chef Laurant Gras’ untimely leave of absence this week. 23 restaurants claimed stars and having enjoyed the tasting menu at Sixteen last week and Ria this week, while all courses were unquestionably delicious, there was a notable difference in the intricate progression of flavors and harmonies of the courses between the 2 and 1 star restaurants. I challenge you to taste them for yourself.
The star ratings are as follows:
• One star indicates “a very good restaurant in its category,” a place offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.
• Two stars denote “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality.
• Three stars reward “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” One always eats extremely well here, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.
Crofton on Wells
Longman & Eagle
The MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011 goes on sale Nov. 18 at $18.99.