A ‘Michelin star’ is the paramount recognition that most restaurant chefs strive to achieve. A hallmark of fine dining around the world, Michelin defines a one-star rating as ‘a very good restaurant in its category,’ two stars as ‘excellent cuisine, worth a detour,’ and three stars as ‘exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey’ – the latter being the most difficult of honors to acquire. The 2017 Michelin guide has awarded 148 Michelin stars to US culinary powerhouses, 14 of which remain in the three-star category for the sixth straight year.
At Chef’s Table, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Brooklyn, Chef César Ramirez highlights Japanese-inspired courses using French techniques, carefully selecting seasonal products as the focal point of his 20-course menu – most of which is centered around seafood and shellfish. Before embarking upon Ramirez’s epic gastronomical adventure, settle into a seat at the kitchen counter, featuring an open, communal concept.
Masa‘s otherworldly sushi experience offers a contemporary spin on the traditional omakase in a modern, zen-like setting. Chef Masayoshi Takayama, who studied under sushi master Sugiyama Toshiaki, composes each dish to reflect the exquisite simplicity of flavors that lie within each ingredient. The food is prepared quickly, urging guests to savor each bite in its ‘living, being state.’
Hailing from three-Michelin-starred restaurant The French Laundry, Chef Corey Lee brings innovative American cuisine to San Francisco’s SoMA neighborhood. Famous for its faux shark’s fin soup, Benu offers a minimalistic tasting menu with a Korean–Chinese flair; diners can expect dishes such as thousand-year-old quail egg and foie gras xiao long bao.
Diner, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Bar, Contemporary, American, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
The Restaurant at Meadowood | Images courtesy of The Restaurant at Meadowood
Renowned for its exquisite display of modern Californian cuisine, The Restaurant at Meadowood accentuates seasonal and sustainable ingredients in a dazzling setting marked by rolling vineyards and pastoral mountains. Diners can opt for a wine-paired tasting menu, or indulge in the bar program headed by Sam Levy, which features house-distilled spirits.
Headed by culinary icon Chef Thomas Keller, The French Laundry remains a legendary destination for nearly every food enthusiast across the globe. Set within a rustic stone farmhouse in Napa Valley’s quaint village of Yountville, The French Laundry has maintained its reputation for flawless service and impeccable cuisine since its inception in 1994. The tasting menu changes daily, presenting Keller’s refined rendition of classic French cuisine using only the finest of ingredients.
Manresa‘s flawless farm-to-table tasting menus, which change daily, represent the distinctive character of the Bay Area. Chef David Kinch partners with local farms, ensuring that only first-rate ingredients make it to the plate each evening. And although it’s said to be one of the most extravagant restaurants in the Bay Area, Manresa emanates an air of wholesomeness alongside superior hospitality.
Per Se challenges the status quo with two creative nine-course tasting menus: a chef’s tasting menu and a vegetable tasting menu. Chef Keller’s New York interpretation of The French Laundry, Per Se is a French-inspired homage to the product – no two ingredients are repeated throughout the entire meal. Fit with views of Central Park and over 2,000 bottles on the wine list, Keller’s second three-starred Michelin restaurant deserves the title.
Chef Daniel Humm crafts a contemporary American multi-course tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park, a New York City icon in the culinary world. The space features high ceilings and Art Deco-inspired décor, and the menu is a seasonally inspired display of local fare, with some dishes served individually, others family-style. The dishes, presented as works of art, highlight Humm’s creative expression, each ingredient showcased through playful plating.
Le Bernardin has established itself as a premier New York destination for French cuisine, holding its three Michelin stars since its launch in 2005; it has received several awards and accolades since. With Chef Eric Ripert’s illustrious reputation for epic cuisine and phenomenal service, this comes as no surprise. A leading destination for all things piscatory, Le Bernardin showcases sophisticated seafood-centered dishes where the ‘fish is the star of the plate.’
Headed by world-renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this New York eatery never ceases to live up to its reputation for remarkable French-inspired cuisine. Diners can choose from several prix-fixe menus – including a vegetable tasting menu – with dishes like foie gras brûlé with lime poached apple and smoked squab with butter-braised romaine making an appearance. Chef Jean-Georges, supporting the clean food movement, sources non-GMO products from local and sustainable farms when possible.
Saison is San Francisco‘s answer to imaginative New American cuisine. Diners can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen, before indulging on seasonal artisan gastronomy. Chef Joshua Skenes sources the best in meat, seafood, and produce through an established network of local ranchers, farmers, and fisherman, a quality that is emphasized by the infallible multi-course tasting menu.
Quince is where the seasonal bounty of Northern California meets culinary inventiveness. Set within a historical space near San Francisco’s Embarcadero, Quince’s take on modern California cuisine is distinguished by Italian and French flavors. Tasting menus include items such as goose anolini with chestnut, Paine Farm squab lasagne, and caviar with king crab, heart of palm and mandarin.
Making a name for itself as one of those most rare of dining experiences, Alinea is regularly praised worldwide for Chef Grant Achatz’s use of imagination and ingenuity. The seasonally driven menu is brilliant and inspiring, as are the plating presentations, which are out of this world. This Chicago star offers a modern American tasting menu with 18-22 courses; here, diners should always expect to be wowed.
Brought to you by former Alinea chef de cuisine Curtis Duffy, Grace is a sophisticated restaurant in the heart of Chicago serving elegant New American fare. The two tasting menus – flora, a vegetable-featured menu, and fauna, with meat and seafood dishes – bear a sense of simplicity, shining a light on seasonal ingredients. Featured dishes, such as white truffle with chive, parmesan, and tapioca and bay scallops with white poppy, romaine, and nasturtium, can be paired with wine for an extraordinary journey.
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