New York City is home to a host of Michelin-star restaurants, but only five of them earn three stars – the highest distinction awarded by the Michelin guide.
A coveted Michelin star signifies a mark of distinction for chefs and restaurant owners. Every year, anonymous Michelin inspectors are sent to restaurants around the world, sampling dishes to determine which restaurants should be awarded one, two or three stars. But here’s the catch: once a restaurant has won a star, it doesn’t keep it forever; the star has to be awarded again and again with every new year for the restaurant to hold on to it.
How many three-star Michelin restaurants are there in New York City?
Although this city is certainly overrun with Michelin-star restaurants, there are only five three-Michelin-star restaurants in New York. All five are in Manhattan: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa and Per Se. Each is exceptional in its own way, from the fine dining and fish-forward French fare at Le Bernardin to the exotic and esoteric dishes on the tasting menu found at the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare.
Eleven Madison Park serves an upscale American tasting menu crafted by chef Daniel Humm. Upon being seated in the high-ceilinged Art Deco space, diners are asked to relay their list of allergies; their meals are then prepped and customized to fit their dining needs. A single meal consists of eight to 10 courses displaying Humm’s shift to creative simplicity: foie gras is streaked with pickled red cabbage, and slivers of pearl onions, delicately arranged like concave shingles, crown a puck of blood sausage. Each course could be a study in color, texture and design, all masterfully plated on white plates. A meal costs $315 per person, including tip but not tax or beverages.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare once called Brooklyn home, but the restaurant has since moved to Manhattan. Yet the concept remains the same; inspired by Japanese and French cuisine, this 18-seat space provides an intimate dining experience that consists of a seafood-focused tasting menu separated into 15 to 20 courses, all of which change daily to reflect in-season produce. As the meal begins, diners are seated around a stainless-steel bar, in perfect position to watch chef César Ramirez tussle with sauté pans and meticulously slice slabs of meat. Dishes in past tasting-menu incarnations have included a single scallop crowned with burdock root and fried monkfish liver rife with spicy sansho. The restaurant also has an award-winning wine program, thanks, in large part, to its 7,000-bottle cellar. A meal costs $394.36 per person, beverages not included.
Le Bernardin has been a three-star restaurant for over 10 consecutive years. This splashy French restaurant has become renowned for seafood prepared by chef Eric Ripert and boasts an expansive wine list curated by sommelier Aldo Sohm. The menu is split into three categories: almost raw, barely touched and lightly cooked. “Almost raw” consists of a selection of caviar and oysters, as well as fluke, tuna, salmon and snapper. “Barely touched” includes seared octopus slick with tomatillo salsa as well as crab-filled calamari. And “lightly cooked” lets the fish remain the star, like poached halibut swimming in a daikon-ginger dashi and baked lobster showered with red-wine-gumbo sauce. Both lunch and dinner are prix-fixe menus, priced at $90 and $160 respectively, but outside the dining room you can order à la carte from the lounge menu.
Chef Masayoshi Takayama brings the masterful skill, quality and refined beauty of Japanese cuisine to New York City. Only 26 diners at a time can be seated in the sleek, windowless space around the bar. Here, they’re plied with dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients, which in the past have included things like sea trout floating in a shabu-shabu broth, saltwater eel topped with a showering of yuzu zest and slivers of wagyu tataki hiding under a sprinkling of summer truffles. A meal costs $595 per person – excluding beverages and tax – and can often last nearly two hours.
At the helm of this opulent New American and French restaurant is Thomas Keller, who provides diners the choice of one of two $340 prix-fixe menus: a nine-course tasting of seasonal vegetables or a nine-course chef’s tasting menu, both of which change daily and to align with the seasons. Here, you’ll dine above the treetops of Central Park as you sip from long-stemmed wine glasses and scoop delicate morsels of Keller’s famed oysters and pearls: a mound of warm caviar and oysters is piled atop chive-flecked tapioca pudding. Other dishes during the tasting could be hand-cut tagliatelle twirled with black truffles and 48-hour braised beef short ribs, accompanied by sweet carrots and artichokes. Per Se features a 64-seat dining room, a 10-seat private dining room, a lounge, a bar and a wine cellar.