Next week in New York, the somewhat fickle culinary deities at the World's 50 Best Restaurants will unveil their annual ranking of global culinary establishments, a list that dictates at which venues you'll have a tough time getting a reservation. But today, the guide veiled its "back fifty," a mix of younger establishments that didn't make the full list and a handful of other more seasoned venues that fell in the rankings.
This year, some of the mightiest have fallen.
Chef Thomas Keller, whom some regard as one of the godfathers of the modern American tasting menu scene, saw both of his pricey venues, the French Laundry and Per Se, fall into the back fifty. That's a heck of a drop given than the Laundry, now coming in at No. 85, occupied the No.1 spot in 2003 and 2004, while Per Se, now No. 52 was No. 6 in 2013. Per Se was the subject of negative two-star reviews by Eater's Ryan Sutton (that's me) and the NYT's Pete Wells in recent years.
Helen Rizzo's Mani (in São Paulo, Brazil) dropped to the 51 spot, which means the proper list has lost one of few female chefs (there were only two last year). But it's quite likely that she'll be replaced by Dominique Crenn of San Francisco's Atelier Crenn next week.
Other heavy hitters who fell off the main list: Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris, Pascal Barbot's L'Astrance, and Inaki Aizpitarte's Le Chateaubriand. Aizpitarte is considered an original gangster of sorts in the neo-bistrot movement in Paris and New York, heavily influencing venues like Contra which serve short set menus in stripped-down settings at affordable-ish prices. Some might raise eyebrows if the San Pellegrino judges replace it with yet another expensive tasting menu venue; many of the spots on the full list can easily exceed $250 per person.
Please do add your thoughts in the comments. But for now, here's the full back fifty.
52. Per Se
53. Hof Van Cleve
54. The Jane
58. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee
59. Martin Berasategui
62. La Grenouillere
67. The Restaurant at Meadowood
70. Burnt Ends
72. Pavilloin Ledoyen
73. Hertog Jan
74. Le Chateaubriand
76. La Colombe
80. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon St. Germain Paris
81. Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare
85. The French Laundry
86. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana
87. Indian Accent
88. Die Schwarzaldstube
91. St. John
93. Daniel Berlin
97. Momofuku Ko
99. La Petit Maison
100. Chestnaya Kukhnya