Michelin Star Restaurants, a 7 day review series

Friday, January 11, 2013

I was scrolling through my photos in Picasa a few months ago and realized how much deliciousness was trapped in my computer waiting to be shared with the world. Since I was clearly slacking in my updates, I decided to give myself a personal challenge: to write a Seven Michelin Star Restaurants in Seven Days series.

This challenge is a bit similar to my Seven 7×7 Restaurants in Seven Days series I wrote back in 2011. Notice a pattern here?


Eating my way through Seven Michelin Star Restaurants from New York to San Francisco

So before you start thinking that I ate at michelin star restaurants 7 days in a row for this personal challenge, that's not what happened. I was in a rut and trying to figure out a way to write my way out of it. Michelin Stars was my inspiration.

In addition, I want to point out that I only got into the "fine dining scene" very recently. I had my first Michelin Star experience at Arzak in San Sebastian and it blew my mind. It was really eye opening to see how playful and fun food could be. It's not to say that I haven't always loved food, but the combo of diving right into Foodie Heaven and living in New York City has really increased my exposure to nom-ing on these delicious meals.

Writing up these 7 posts was a fun way for me to reflect on each of these meals individually and has allowed me to have a better insight to my personal preferences in what I really want out of these meals. To recap, here were the seven restaurants that were in my series (sorting it by price per person):

One Michelin Star

*Blue Hill at Stone Barns doesn't have a Michelin Star, but it really should. However, it's Manhattan counterpart does.

Two Michelin Stars


With all that said, here's two main findings that I have from writing up these posts:

1. I like dishes with interesting plating and like to play with my food


Burgers on a Chicken Foot Plate
I'm not a steak served over mash kind of girl - I'm not impressed - even Noob Chef Shelly can do better than that. I love to see plating that's a bit out of the box. Blue Hill's plating was right up my alley. Their amuse was beet burgers served on top of a chicken foot plate along with fries on a stick - a great way to start off the night.
Blue Hill at Stone Barn's interesting poached egg, beans and liquor dish

Later through the night, Blue Hill served soft boiled egg dish, where we were told to pour in liquor as we're about to finish the bean and ham hock soup. The alcohol really helped bring out some more of the smokiness of the ham hock and it was a bit fun being able to be the one to decide just how much I wanted to add, and when I would add it.

This would explain my less enthusiastic reviews for Gary Danko in SF and Gramercy Tavern in NY - they both represent pretty traditional fine dining courses whereas Blue Hill and Commis adds the extra theatrics that I like with my meals.

2. More courses isn't always better. 


Here, I'm speaking to my experience at Mélisse where I felt overall the 10 courses were tasty, but not necessarily memorable. Ever heard of the Serial Position effect? It's the psychology study that shows people tend to remember the beginning and end of lists, or in this case, a meal.

I've actually found this to be true to a lot of tasting menus I've tried, that the amuses, first courses and desserts were the best and most memorable parts of the entire meal. It takes a truly outstanding dish to help break through the clutter and shine.

Soft Poached Egg, Lemon Cream Fraiche and Caviar,
EASILY the best dish of the night. (Melisse)
The Summer Rose dessert was a visual treat, and the mix of almond panna cotta and rose sobert, delish! (Melisse)

I've heard from others that they've really enjoyed their meals at Mélisse, but usually when they go for the 4 course menu. So, for Mélisse, maybe less is really more - especially given that this meal was the most expensive out of the 7 days.

Readers - What do you look for from your Michelin Star experiences? Have you been to any of these restaurants? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you!

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