Here Are the 2015 Michelin Stars for San Francisco; Benu and Saison Both Get Major Upgrades

San Francisco now has four three-star restaurants, up from two in 2014.Photo: Michelin

The little red guidebook named its brand-new crop of "Bib Gourmand" picks for San Francisco last week, and this afternoon Michelin unveiled the full lineup of starred restaurants running in its 2015 guide. In what is clearly the biggest development of the year, Corey Lee's four-year-old Benu and Joshua Skene's Saison have each been awarded three stars, where they sit atop the list with the Restaurant at Meadowood and the French Laundry, which have been the only vaunted players at that echelon since 2011. Additionally, Acquerello chef and owner Suzette Gresham joins Dominique Crenn and Emma Bengtsson in New York as one of just three chefs in the United States with two stars. Meanwhile, Mitsunori Kusakabe's namesake restaurant and Maruya are the new one-star additions to the list, which includes restaurants in Cupertino, Palo Alto, Healdsburg, and, of course, Yountville.

To the rankings. »

Restaurant Posts Somber ‘Obituary’ After Upstairs Neighbor Kills the Business

R.I.P.Photo: Illegal Jack's South West Grill/Facebook

Jack Muir found himself moving through the stages of grief after a leaky roof collapsed the ceiling at his Illegal Jacks South West Grill, cutting the popular Edinburgh Tex-Mex spot down a month shy of its fifth birthday. Frustrated and faced with the grief of laying off 14 employees, not to mention the unceremonious end to his haggis burritos, Muir decided to pen an obit that's now been shared almost 800 times (on Facebook, of course). It also barely disguised his anger with the people he blamed for the 17-day saga leading to the demise of his restaurant.

"Eat me ..." »

McDonald’s Figures Out That People Sort of Hate Going to McDonald’s

People lining up to not eat Big Macs.Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Everyone loves Chipotle. People cannot get enough Chipotle. Chipotle is killing it. Throw some humanely raised pork and brown rice in a huge gummy tortilla, top it with the tomato salsa and that other salsa with the corn — always get the one with the corn — spend the extra $2 or whatever on guac, wrap that baby up in some foil, and you're good to go. Walk by any Chipotle at like one o'clock in the afternoon and you will see a line of customers snaking all through the store, reading their iPhones and each waiting to spend $10 on a burrito, or a bowl, or maybe one of the salads with the good dressing. Whenever a new Chipotle opens, the burrito-bowl-craving hordes queue up accordingly. Chipotle can do no wrong. And this is not good news for McDonald's, which today had to let the world know that people just don't like McDonald's all that much anymore.

Read more »

A Man Claims His Golden Corral Chili Contained a Snaggletoothed Rat Head

Of all the most disgusting rogue ingredients you can brainstorm finding in a bowl of chili, "severed furry rat head" is highly unlikely to make the list, because who would even think that up? Well, Bob Wilson now will. The Florida man — and until now Golden Corral regular — claims he, his son, and some friends were eating a buffet dinner recently, and this curly-eared rodent head was a thing he had to spit out after digging into his chili. "The first bite I took out of it was a crunch," he says, already crossing over the TMI zone, "and at the time I was like, 'Maybe, you know, sometimes you get a hard bean inside of chili.'" But alas, there were no hard beans inside Wilson's chili. His next stop was the bathroom. Warning: Snaggletoothed rat head photo, straight ahead.

"Wow that is a rat," the manager concluded. »

Burrata Everywhere: 24 Places to Eat Everyone’s Favorite Menu Item

Burrata, roasted delicata squash, and brown butter.Photo: Courtesy of John Dory Oyster Bar

There's one menu item you can almost always count on seeing at a new restaurant: a composed burrata dish. The smooth, rich Italian cheese — a mozzarella shell filled with more soft cream, essentially — is an ingredient that both chefs and diners love to a point that it's omnipresent. It used to be that it was just on every Italian menu, but now restaurants like Xixa, Mission Cantina, and Casa Mono feature it, too. Indeed, burrata is having its bacon moment. But you won't hear Grub complaining — the stuff is amazing. (Even if burrata French toast — a real thing — is right on the cusp of pushing things a bit too far.) And so, here are two dozen notable dishes from around town that make the most of everyone's favorite ingredient.

Burrata grilled-cheese! »

Cappuccino Chips Are, Thankfully, No Longer Happening

Resting in pieces.

The votes have been tallied, and Wasabi Ginger is Frito-Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" winner, not the one that "tasted" like cappuccino. America may never know how close it got to cappuccino-flavored chips in every bodega, but it was time to put it out of its misery. That variety was all but universally reviled online, spawned a series of "We tried so you don't have to" consumer reviews, and ultimately got dissed by coffee writer Oliver Strand as "a punch line."

Cappuccino guy still gets paid. »

L.A.’s Top Round Roast Beef Plans to Open in NYC, and Everywhere Else

Yes, "housemade cheese 'wizz'" is a real thing.Photo: Facebook

Here's some cheery news: Los Angeles restaurant Top Round Roast Beef has signed a franchising agreement to bring its burgeoning empire of medium-rare sandwiches to Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and many other cities. Though its grungy, smog-aged flagship may seem like it's been around forever, Top Round opened in the summer of 2013, and its founders include Anthony Carron, who co-created similarly expanding Neapolitan pie chainlet 800 degrees. But beyond the resolutely healthy-seeming prospects of "kale slaw," the menu looks downright spectacular — bring on the gravy fries and housemade cheese "wizz."

Read more »

World Decides Deep-Fried Candy Corn Is One Step Too Far

Seasonally scary.

"What do we do to things we don't need/want/like?" Amy Erickson asks on her blog, Oh, Bite It!. "We fry it ... that's what!" In this case, the creator of deep-fried Pumpkin Spice Lattes and, for rougher days, deep-fried tequila shots has put Brach's famous candy corn inside Pillsbury dough rounds and subjected the whole package to a bath of hot oil. The finished product is dusted with powered sugar, zeppole-style, and allegedly yields "doughy pillows" that are "just a shadow of that seasonal, sad, tooth-buster of a treat."

"Why did the phrase 'deep fried candy corn' just crawl across my timeline?" »

Above the Fray: How Restaurants Become Impervious to Criticism

New York's Grand Central Oyster Bar.Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

I first heard the term "shit line" from a British journalist who’d spent years in the trenches of Fleet Street. He was describing a venerable old gasbag editor of his, a once-reputable gentleman who was now beyond reproach, despite the fact that he drank himself senseless at lunchtime and took lengthy afternoon naps. This was not meant as a putdown. On the contrary, those who ascend above the mythical demarcation are impervious to the random quibbles and criticisms of everyday life. Those below (i.e., most of us) are judged by harsher standards, and doomed to a life of striving and disappointment. But to be above the shit line is to enter the realm of immortality and myth. There are politicians who qualify (but, like Bill Clinton, many tend to be retired from politics — or dead), and actors (Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts), as well as authors, some of whom are geniuses (Philip Roth), and others whose books sell millions of copies no matter what kind of drivel they write. The same goes for restaurants, of course. Anyone who has spent time eating around this great dining city knows that there are plenty of treasured establishments (and one or two chefs) that have achieved an enviable, bulletproof status, whether they deserve it or not.

Peter Luger, we're looking at you. »

10/20/14

Here’s an Entire Japanese New Year’s Feast That Comes in a Pokemon Ball

Pika?

Have no clue what you're doing for New Year's yet? Well, maybe now you at least have dinner figured out: With this precooked 26-dish osechi set for ¥14,580 (about $136, delivery included), you can stuff yourself on crab legs, daikon, and chestnut paste, and still have plenty of leftovers the next day. It's Kenko Sansai's healthier version of the traditional year-end feast, but inside a Poké Ball, and with at least 100 percent more manga than usual.

Read more »

Brave Chili’s Cook Vows to Capitalize on Shirtless Viral Photo Shoot That Got Him Fired

Calendar boy.

Like his forebears lettuce-stomping guy and Subway penis dude, Justin J Speekz knew the decision to pose "sexy" and shirtless in the Tampa Bay Chili's kitchen where he cooked would be a few steps backwards in respect and job prospects. Speekz posted the pictures (which he says were taken after-hours) to Facebook anyhow, with the caption "Some Pics for the 'Sexy Cooks Of Chili's' Calender that the company is putting together lmmfaooo ya boy is the main feature/headliner! Bahahahaha! :D I'll have copies for $15 Yeyyyy!" Then he tagged his own restaurant in the post.

He's autographing aprons. »

First Look at Empellon al Pastor, Now Open in the East Village

The main attraction.Photo: Melissa Hom

The corn for the masa has been nixtamalized, the tortilla machine is cranking out the tortillas, and the giant pork trompo is spinning. Yes, it's true. Alex Stupak has flung open the doors to Empellón al Pastor, his so-called bar-tortilleria in the East Village, and now the two questions on everyone’s mind await their answers: Is taco eating all about context, as Stupak’s Theory of Tacotivity states? And do tacos taste better served on paper plates in a bar-tortilleria than they do on fancy china in a well-appointed restaurant? Well, for Stupak’s sake, let’s hope so. “We’ve named it Empellón al Pastor because I’m not giving myself an out,” says the chef. “We have to master this taco. If we fail at everything else in this restaurant, we have to get this one thing right. I’ve never been more terrified.” Take a look at Empellón al Pastor's raison d'être and the space, straight ahead.

"Never trust punk" »

Eataly’s Wine Shop Makes a Triumphant Return

Welcome back, Mr. Montepulciano.Photo: Paola Messana/AFP/Getty Images

Back in March, pretty much everyone who'd ever purchased an excellent Barbera d'Alba from Eataly Vino was utterly crushed to find out that the wine shop was facing a $500,000 fine and a six-month closure imposed by the New York State Liquor Authority. Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich's group was censured by the agency because it had allegedly "suppressed information" about connections between their wine production and retail divisions. The partners rolled all the barolo from the shelves at cut rates and installed a spiffy new Nutella bar, much to the delight of many thousands of crepe- and cookie-adoring fans.

Read more »

The Race to Create America’s Premier Carbonated Cold Brew

It's the Champagne of carbonated cold-brew coffees.Photo: Hugh Merwin

Anyone who's opened a bottle of Manhattan Special — the espresso soda that was invented in Brooklyn circa 1895 — might think that carbonated coffee is due for an upgrade. Despite decades of innovation in the way coffee is sourced, prepared, and sold, the addition of bubbles is an innovation that has largely been ignored. That, however, appears to be changing thanks to a collection of coffee nerds and roasters large and small who recognize carbonated coffee as an idea that's time has come — and one that's about to hit the mainstream.

"... we are always experimenting with different techniques and flavors ..." »

Ben & Jerry’s Defends Its ‘Hazed & Confused’ Ice Cream

The "hazed" part comes from its hazelnuts.

The timing on this one could've been a lot better, with a New Jersey school now roiling in yet another hazing incident, but Ben & Jerry's says that after carefully considering the complaints by the parents of a Florida teen who died during a fraternity "hell week" hazing ritual, it has decided not to rename the new "Hazed & Confused" flavor. Sean Greenwood, a spokesperson, said that no one at the ice-cream company meant to "condone — nor support in any manner — the act of hazing or bullying," going on to say the practice has "no place in our society." Greenwood said that the "pop culture reference" had an established precedent and wasn't much different from Cherry Garcia or Phish Food, in other words.

"... it's a pop culture reference ..." »

Yotam Ottolenghi on Instant Ramen, Plenty More, and His Secret Candy Stash

"People are becoming quite precious about what they eat."Photo: Pal Hansen

London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi published his fourth cookbook last week — a follow-up to his best-selling Plenty — called, straightforwardly, Plenty More. It's got 150 vegetarian recipes — including Iranian-style pasta, curry-roasted root vegetables, pea-and-mint croquettes, and black-currant friands. In honor of the release, we sat down Ottolenghi — arguably one of the most trusted cookbook authors in the world, as well as a health-food aficionado — to discuss the new ingredients he features, the recipe most likely to impress a date, and Michelle Obama's viral turnip video. Plus: We've got three of his favorite recipes from the book.

"I keep eat cheap candy in my car's glove compartment." »

New York Taste Returns Next Month

More than 40 chefs and restaurants will participate.

Get ready: New York Taste, our annual feasting extravaganza, will take place on November 10. This year's lineup, curated by New York's culinary editor Gillian Duffy, is as impressive as ever. Expect chefs like Jonathan Waxman, Bâtard's Marks Glocker, Jesse Schenker, Dale Talde, Lafayette pastry whiz Jennifer Yee, Nomad's Mark Welker, Chad Brauze from Rôtisserie Georgette, and plenty others (not to mention drinks from the likes of Audrey Saunders and Julie Reiner).

How to get in on the action... »

The 10 Best Lines From Jay Rayner’s Brutal Steakhouse Takedown

This is going to get messy.

Because everyone loves an absolutely devastating restaurant review, here are some choice bits from The Guardian's most read story this weekend — now at 550 comments and counting — in the form of Jay Rayner's Sunday Observer review. A new high-end, formidably named London restaurant specializing in Norwegian red king crab and Nebraskan steak called Beast, the critic writes, is "the most unintentionally funny restaurant to open in London in a very long time."

"Got any friends who are, say, international drug barons?" »

Danny Meyer’s Untitled at the Whitney Closed in Advance of Its Move Downtown

It'll be back in the spring of 2015.Photo: Melissa Hom

The final weekend of the Whitney Museum of American Art before its big move downtown also signaled the temporary closing of Untitled, the farm-to-table café helmed by chef Chris Bradley and operated by Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. Yesterday, the restaurateur thanked the venue's regulars on Instagram while pinpointing May of next year as the expected date for Untitled's Meatpacking District debut.

Read more »

10/19/14

The 12 Best Garlicky Dishes in New York Right Now

Like corn and tomatoes, garlic has a season—or make that seasons. Locavores track the odoriferous allium’s progress throughout its growth cycle, from spring’s green shoots to summer’s curvy scapes to fall’s papery bulbs, which are cured for several weeks after their late-summer harvest. Local hard-neck varieties—trickier to grow but more complexly flavored than the soft-necks from California, China, and Latin America—can be found now at Greenmarket stands like Keith’s Farm, which bundles them as holiday gifts. Get in the spirit by gobbling every last one of our picks for some of New York’s best garlickiest dishes. Then go off in the woods alone until the pungent bouquet wafting from your every pore subsides.

Pizza, sesame noodles, fried chicken, and more. »

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