Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Wishlist: Michelin Star Restaurants (2015 Edition)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I'm going my 6th annual rant on needing to get some internationally recognized Michelin-starred restaurants in San Jose! The Michelin guide is the most renowned rubric for measuring culinary greatness, and for the most part San Jose restaurants have been excluded from its pages. However, I think the foodie culture is continuing to build momentum in San Jose, especially Downtown. I'm continuing to be optimistic for the future!

Michelin has three different star categories:
  • One Star - A very good restaurant in its category with cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop on your journey.
  • Two Stars - Excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality. Worth a detour.
  • Three Stars - Exceptional cuisine with distinctive dishes and superlative ingredients. Worth a special journey.
I created a Google doc listing all of the star recipients for 2015, along with tabs for all previous years and some general statistics. Below is an image capture from the doc. This year there were a total of 40 restaurants on the list, which is up 2 from last year and down from the peak of 47 in 2012. 53% of the restaurants are locating in SF, 25% in Wine Country, 20% in Silicon Valley (split evenly between the South Bay and the Peninsula), and 3% in the East Bay. There are two new restaurant on the list this year, Kusakabe and Maruya (both Japanese) as well as three upgrades: Saison and Benu now have the elusive 3-star rating and Acquerello was upgraded to 2 stars. No restaurants from 2014 were dropped.

I will also mention that there are some restaurants in the Michelin guide that do not get a star, but are considered "Michelin Recommended." Within this category San Jose scored a total of 10 restaurants:
  • Downtown
    • Vung Tau
    • Back A Yard
  • The Alameda
    • Zona Rosa (NEW)
  • North San Jose
    • Smoking Pig BBQ
  • South San Jose
    • Bun Bo Hue An Nam
    • Thien Long
  • Willow Glen
    • The Table (NEW)
    • Fratello
  • Camden
    • Rangoli
    • Zeni
Zona Rosa and The Table are two well-deserved additions. Unfortunately, there were some restaurants from 2014 that did not make the cut this year: SJ Omogari in Japantown, La Costa in East San Jose, LB Steak in Santana Row, and Pizza Antica which is also in Santana Row. If we don't get some stars, at the very least we'll hopefully get more Michelin Recommended or Bib Gourmand restaurant ratings in 2016. If you haven't been to the restaurants above, I can vouch that all 9 are well worth checking out.

Source: Michelin Guide

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