10 Of The Michelin Star Restaurants That You Must Hit Around The US
Visit the top 10 upscale restaurants in the US
If you look past the fact that a Paris-based tire company rates restaurants with stars, you can actually have a few fantabulous meals in those restaurants. But for those curious minds - here is how it started. In 1936, the Michelin guide started as a three-star system. One star and the restaurant are very good for their category. Two stars and it has excellent cooking and is worth a detour. Three stars mean that a restaurant has exceptional cuisine and is worth a special journey.
With all the hype that Michelin restaurants get from the tire company, they did encourage people to travel all the way from one end of the country to the other end to enjoy 3-Michelin-star hotels. And what do people need to travel? Cars. And what do cars need? Tires. And which tires are Michelin hoping you would use? Theirs. Talk about indirect marketing, huh?
But their Michelin star team has put together an honest team of reviewers who visit restaurants in surprise and add or remove any of their stars. Thanks to them, we have a collection of Michelin-star restaurants across the country. If you are the adventurous type and want to go on a road trip, do check these 10 out.
Alinea is one of the newest entrants in Michelin’s 3-star restaurants - it joined the list only in 2021. Chef Grant Achatz’s temple of molecular gastronomy has modernist roots and involves the wildest experiments in food. Taking inspiration from a wide range of countries, you could be served a rare Japanese fish that has been fed an edible balloon or simply a chicken thigh with Mexican seasoning. You can find the restaurant rated as one of the best options for rooftop fine dining in Chicago.
Eleven Madison Park, New York City
Source: Viewing NYC
Apart from the prestigious Michelin stars, Eleven Madison Park in New York City was also the former No. 1 restaurant in the World’s Best guide. While the head chef had his doubts about reopening the restaurant post the pandemic, he has successfully managed to pull it off. In fact, most of the menu is currently vegan and is one the best destinations for vegetarians in the New York City area. He attributed this change in the menu to the unsustainability of meat consumption and said that the switch to vegan options would do better for the environment.
The Inn at Little Washington, Washington
Ever since Michelin stars were a thing in the USA, it took three years for them to recognise a restaurant in the DC area worthy of three stars. And it wasn’t a surprise for most of us when it was given to Patrick O'Connell’s The Inn at Little Washington. It is a cute Instagram-worthy inn located near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in a town with a population of 300 people. The restaurant works on a farm-to-table concept with an emphasis on French cuisine. If you are in the mood for a winter break, you know where to head to now.
Atelier Crenn, San Franciso
Source: this guy's food blog
Another French cuisine restaurant on the list is Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. Chef Dominique Crenn has a soulful take on the cuisine and creates an artistic and modern French fair. After several years with 2 Michelin stars, the restaurant was awarded the 3rd one this year. Michelin credited the star to the current menu which ‘displays a wonderful balance of grace, artistry, technical ability and taste’. And, just like that, chef Dominique became the first woman in the USA to run a Michelin 3-star restaurant.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York City
While the name of this restaurant has Brooklyn Fare in it, it is actually located in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. Chef Cesar Ramirez has created an open kitchen-type area in which diners sit around live counters where their food is prepared in full view by the chefs. It is also a French-Japanese fusion restaurant that serves multiple courses of both cuisines.
French Laundry, Yountville, CA
Source: Town & Country Magazine
Hmm, at this point, do you think that Michelin, a Paris-based company, is slightly biased toward French-based restaurants? Shhh. Let’s keep it to us. French Laundry was completely transformed into a fine-dining hotspot by chef Thomas Keller in 1994. If you are into the cuisine, this 9-course extravaganza is sure to tickle your taste buds into ecstasy. From cauliflower velouté to creamed trumpet mushrooms, this place has everything you need for the best French experience.
Le Bernardin, New York City
Source: Le Bernardin Privé
If you are into food that looks like it’s straight out of MasterChef, then this one is for you. Another fine dining affair, this one is helmed by chef Eric Ripert and is regarded as one of the best seafood restaurants in America. The team at Le Bernardin takes immense pleasure exploring the bounties of the sea and presenting them to diners in a fine-dining format. Once the lockdowns were eased in the USA, this was the first Michelin 3-star restaurant to open its door to diners.
Benu, San Francisco
Benu is the brainchild of chef Corey Lee, who is highly acclaimed in his field. While he did work at the French Laundry as the chef de cuisine, he soon started Benu in San Francisco. The restaurant is a celebration of his Korean roots and gives diners in America the best versions of Korea’s favorites. He then expanded it to include dishes from China and Japan as well. With dishes like an oyster with pork belly and kimchi and smoked quail, you are guaranteed the best flavours of Asia.
Masa, New York City
Source: Brabbu Design Forces
There is fine dining. Then there is Masa in New York City. The menu is on the expensive side of the financial spectrum but chef Masa Takayama’s omakase sushi experience is completely worth it. It is located close to Central Park and is the go-to destination for sushi lovers. The fish used in the restaurant is directly flown in from the Tsujiki Fish in Japan to retain the dish’s authenticity.
SingleThread, Healdsburg, CA
When Kyle and Katina Connaughton, husband and wife duo, opened SingleThread, little did they know that they would rake in 3 Michelin Stars? They started SingleThread as an inn and scaled it to an 11-course tasting menu on a farm to create an ‘immersive and comprehensive’ experience. The cuisine is Japanese and was crafted by Kyle who worked as a chef for multiple Japanese restaurants around the world. Apart from this, the restaurant has also partnered with the non-profit Sonoma Family Meal to prepare meals for those in need.
If you are not drooling by now, I will be questioning my career choice as a writer. But, in the meantime, if there are any restaurants in your locality that need Michelin’s attention, let us know in the comments section. No, we’re not going to tell them about it. We’re just going to come there and eat.