Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Restaurants Are Better than Yours. (Eat That, New York!)

“Stars represent only what is on the plate. They do not take into consideration interior decoration, service quality or table settings.”
- Caveat in all Michelin City Guides

Dear New York:

Did you know that Michelin is launching a Guide to me this Thursday?

I thought so. Then obviously you are not yet aware that I am getting eight three-star restaurants, 25 two-stars, and 117 one-stars. Yes, count them - 150 in all. And you have, let’s see, hmm, three, six, and 33, respectively, for a total of 42. Oh , very nice.

But frankly, for a city that prides itself on its diversity and thrives on the tourist trade, you have a rather narrow view of what’s good for the palate. I mean, your list is dominated by American and contemporary American (what’s the difference, big boy, truffles or non- on your hamburgers?), but don’t look for any Hispanic cuisine, or soul food, right? And the list is supplemented by a lot of French and some Italian restaurants, so it’s very much Europe, white, Romance-language Europe. Though speaking of Europe, there’s one Greek and one (what the…) Austrian. There are no Chinese, Korean, Arab, or Hispanic restaurants. You do have one Indian restaurant (the Asian kind), and three Japanese restaurants (hooray). A closer look, however, reveals your Japanese restaurants to be sushi spots. Now sushi is cool, but that’s the equivalent of listing three steakhouses and nothing else, no?

Sadly, my list does not appear to include any ramen joints, curry shops, or tonkatsu-ya (breaded, deep-fried pork chop restaurants), giving the lie to the claim that Michelin stars “do not take into consideration interior decoration, service quality or table settings”. And true, the three- and two-star restaurants, which are in the pre-publishing news reports, are predominantly Japanese and French. But the two-stars do include one Chinese and one Spanish (bueno!), as well as one Italian, so I’m looking forward to seeing the full list when the Guide comes out on 22 November.

In the meantime, don’t get down on yourself, okay? And if anybody from your neighborhood, so to speak, is coming here, let him/her know that the proprietor of this blog will be happy to show him/her around any of these places. No, he has not been to any single one of them. But that’s not a problem at all, because he can compare them with any number of other places that he has been to. And remember, he’ll “sing for lunch”; imagine what he’d do for a free dinner at any one of these three-star outfits. Even if it’s not a ramen joint.

NeenerBest regards,

ADD: And Paris, c’est la guerre, baby.


ross said...

The problem is that I doubt the Michelin guys are out in Queens where the best food can be had in NYC. Manhattan pales in comparison.

Jun Okumura said...

Hi, Ross. You can't blame the Michelin people for passing on the Bronx and Staten Island though.

Mindy Kotler said...

And I very much look forward to your treating to me one of these wonderful sounding places when I come to Tokyo next year.


Jun Okumura said...

You'll have to "sing for lunch", my dear.

Durf said...

I saw two people (both OLs in their twenties, natch) reading this on the train on the way to work this morning. I'll probably stick with the ramen and tonkatsu sort of establishments myself.

Jun Okumura said...


There's nothing wrong with nihon ryori. The trick is in finding someone esle to pay for it.


And not getting caught.

We sings for our supper, don't we, precious?