Better than you might expect given how many prominent hotel restaurants closed for lengthy stretches during the pandemic.
Only one previously starred hotel restaurant is missing from this year’s list — the NoMad at the NoMad Hotel, which achieved one-star status in 2019.
Considering that the restaurant shuttered during the pandemic, that doesn’t seem unreasonable. Still, being closed didn’t stop Michelin from awarding its customary three stars to Eleven Madison Park, the fancier, sister property of NoMad chefs Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, which is reopening June 10 with a new, vegan-exclusive menu Michelin hasn’t sampled.
As for everybody else, Michelin showed caution, and a tumultuous year resulted in static stars.
Once again, hotel restaurants were squeezed out of the red book’s heady three-star ranks (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”). Just five New York City restaurants made the cut, all repeats.
Not much change in the two-star category, either. Jean-Georges, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s sybaritic restaurant at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, was the lone hotel restaurant on the list, its third two-star appellation after being bounced down from three-star ranking in 2019. Of course, “excellent cooking, worth a detour” isn’t peanuts. Just 13 NYC restaurants earned two stars, one less than in the 2020 guide and no newcomers.
The movement came in the one-star category (“high quality cooking, worth a stop”). Seven new restaurants, none at hotels, joined the anointed including several that bravely opened during the pandemic. But 15 were dropped, a sobering static that has restaurant watchers fretting about New York City’s status as a culinary powerhouse.
Three hotel restaurants are among the 49 one-star recipients. Ai Fiori, Michael White’s handsome, Italian-inflected restaurant at the luxurious Langham, has enjoyed one-star status for years. Returning for its fourth year on the list is The Clocktower at the stylish New York Edition hotel, home to British chef Jason Atherton’s witty take on British/European cooking (the restaurant is temporarily closed, but the hotel is taking reservations). And making a third appearance on the list is the temporarily closed Le Coucou, chef Daniel Rose’s haute French dining beauty at 11 Howard, which is reopening in August.
A cautious list for a weird year. But kudos to Michelin for publishing its 2021 red guide, seven months late and available online only but back in fine form.