How do you know you’re really in the thick of Fall?
A November election, the end of daylight saving time (fall back!) and the arrival of a new Michelin Guide to New York City restaurants are excellent bellwethers.
Michelin’s red-coated 2019 edition landed yesterday, Election Day 2018. We eagerly scoured it online to see how the city’s hotel restaurants fared. With three categories of stars encompassing 76 restaurants, six were at hotels. That’s nice, but hardly news.
In 2010, the first year Overnight New York started keeping score, seven hotel restaurants made the cut, including tony, now shuttered establishments like Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, Gordon Ramsay at The London and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons. But only five collected a Michelin star (or two, or three) in 2015.
Hotel restaurants are, by definition, a curious category. With an ever-changing house, they play by a specialized rulebook, serving breakfast and often, room service. Still, the days when hotel restaurants catered exclusively to guests, largely because savvy locals knew to avoid them, have been history for a while.
Just five New York restaurants earned three stars for “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” in Michelin speak. None are at hotels. Last year, Jean-George, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s flagship restaurant at the Trump International Hotel and Tower and a reliable three-star winner, was stripped of a star.
But Jean-George was the only hotel restaurant among the 15 dining establishments awarded two stars for 2019, hardly chump change (“excellent cooking, worth a detour”).
Five hotel restaurants were among the 56 recipients of a single star (“high quality cooking, worth a stop”). Three are veteran one-star holders: Ai Fiori, Michael White’s handsome Italian-inflected restaurant at the Langham, Cafe Boulud, Daniel Boulud’s stylish Upper East Side restaurant at the Surrey (diners go home with fresh madeleines) and the NoMad at the Beaux Arts NoMad Hotel, where Daniel Humm and Will Guidara serve up an agreeable if less intricate take on their elaborate Eleven Madison Park fare.
At the stylish Edition hotel, The Clocktower grabbed a star for the second year for British chef Jason Atherton’s witty take on British/European cooking (we love the colorfully eccentric dining rooms). And new this year was Le Coucou, chef Daniel Rose’s white hot haute French dining beauty at 11 Howard.
The big hotel restaurant news was the Breslin’s sad new starless status. The meat-centric gastropub at the Ace Hotel was a consistent one-star winner for April Bloomfield and her business partner Ken Friedman, who relinquished his stake in the venture amid accusations of sexual misconduct. In a phone interview, Gwendal Poullennec, the new international director of the Michelin guide, told Eater that his inspectors witnessed declining “consistency and quality” at the Breslin.
There’s always next year.