The 2016 Michelin guide for New York is officially out, and while it was mostly business as usual (ritzy spots like Le Bernardin and Per Se remained at the top with three stars, Aquavit and Momofuku Ko held strong at two, and Babbo, The Spotted Pig and Picholine — despite being currently closed — retained one), there were some surprising new additions. Ten of them, in fact!
So here’s a rundown of restaurants (all of them in the seemingly arbitrary one-star category) that managed to woo Michelin this year — from Gabriel Kreuther’s eponymous break from The Modern, to the ever-inventive Semilla in Brooklyn.
Gabriel Kreuther: While it’s only been open since June, Gabriel Kreuther’s namesake spot in the Grace Building managed to get a nod from Michelin. It’s cold comfort, though, considering that — with his replacement at the helm — The Modern jumped from one star to two this year.
41 W 42nd St., (212) 257-5826
Tempura Matsui: New York’s first fine dining spot for tempura, this Midtown eatery specializes in deliciously deep-fried omakase, accompanied by Sashimi, Tofu Skin Miso, and Angel Hair Seaweed with grapes.
222 E 39th St., (212) 986-8885
Semilla: Serving innovative cuisine crafted mostly out of vegetables, this tiny tasting room in Williamsburg has received nothing but raves right out of the gate, for Jose Ramirez-Ruiz’ Celery Root Tagliatelle and brioche-enclosed Daikon Radish, accompanied by pastry chef Pam Yung’s inspired desserts, such as Fig Leaf Ice Cream with buckwheat. We think it’s a winner worth going out of your way for!
No. 5, 160 Havemeyer St., (718) 782-3474
Uncle Boons: An affordable Thai spot from two former Per Se cooks, this Nolita establishment serves regional dishes from the North, such as whiskey and chili-glazed Pigs Ears, Dried Shrimp and Coconut wrapped in betel leaves, and Khao Soy; a mild curry soup thick with egg noodles, chicken and mustard greens.
7 Spring St., (646) 370-6650
The Finch: A surprise contender from Brooklyn, this unassuming new American spot — tucked into a landmarked Crown Heights townhouse — is owned by a former Roberta’s chef, serving interesting seasonal salads, such as Shaved Lambs Tongue with cucumber and lemon, and uncomplicated main courses, including Roast Chicken with romano beans and slow cooked egg.
212 Greene Ave., (718) 218-4444
Cagen: From a Nobu vet, this East Village restaurant serves Kappo Ryori cuisine — high-end, multi-course tasting menus of sashimi, soba, as well as grilled and steamed fish.
414 E 9th St., (212) 358-8800
Hirohisa: Yet another Japanese omakase spot (featuring a former chef from Sushi Samba), look for Fried Housemade Tofu with mixed mushroom sauce, Steamed Egg Custards with lobster and sea urchin, and Infrared Grilled Yuzu Koshu Marinated Chicken Thigh.
73 Thompson St., (212) 925-1613
Somtum Der: While its younger sibling, Kiin Thai, got the Bib Gourmand consolation prize, the equally affordable Somtum Der nabbed a top honor from Michelin, for it’s unapologetically spicy Isaan cuisine.
85 Avenue A, (212) 260-8570
Sushi Yasuda: The old man on the block compared to Cagen, Hirohisa and Tempura Matsui — its neophyte sushi compatriots on this year’s Michelin list — this 15-year-old perennial (which was one of the first area restaurants to eliminate tipping), finally got love from the guidebook this year. (Too bad Yasuda returned to Tokyo before he could savor the honor for himself.)
204 E 43rd St., (212) 972-1001
Rebelle: Fronted by chef Daniel Eddy, formerly of Spring in Paris, this little sib to Pearl & Ash serves reimagined French classics (accompanied by a superb wine list), like Beet Bourguignon and Sweetbreads with lobster sauce, artichoke and fava beans.
218 Bowery, (917) 639-3880