More bad news for chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten: Jean-Georges, his flagship fine dining restaurant, lost one Michelin star in the 2018 New York City Michelin Guide, which debuted today. It’s now one of 11 restaurants in New York with two stars. The downgrade also means that San Francisco surpasses New York City as the U.S. city with the most three-Michelin-starred restaurants in the U.S. (San Francisco has seven three-starred restaurants to New York’s five.)
For years, Jean-Georges, which opened in 1997, was hailed as one of the best French restaurants in the America. It generated four-star New York Times reviews and debuted at three stars, one of the highest honors for a restaurant, in Michelin’s first guide to New York in 2006. The Trump Tower restaurant managed to maintain all three stars for more than 10 years — until now.
Unlike other restaurant awards, Michelin stars are not guaranteed forever. The stars are granted to restaurants — not individual chefs — and Michelin inspectors revisit starred locations to ensure that quality is up to par. A recent spate of chefs announced their desire to “give back” their stars to avoid the pressure of maintaining them. But, Michelin is under no obligation to honor these requests. As Eater NY critic Ryan Sutton notes, the guide “is a service to consumers, not restaurants.”
With the demotion, Michelin is declaring Jean-Georges’s jackets-required cuisine “worth a detour" in 2018, but no longer “worth a special journey.”
It’s better news for seven restaurants making their Michelin guide debuts today, including, as Sutton predicted, upscale omakase restaurant Sushi Ginza Onodera in the two-star category and new Korean steakhouse Cote, with one star. For the full list of New York City’s 2018 Michelin stars, head to Eater NY.