Finally, Michelin stars come to Chicago

Chicago foodies have long awaited the prestigious Michelin star ratings to come to town. Finally, the list is out and it has gotten people (foodies in particular) talking. It was just a few months ago when Tim and I were lamenting the absence of Michelin star restaurants in Chicago especially when there are outstanding restaurants and chefs who deserve the recognition. Though we haven't had a chance to try the restaurants that received 3 and 2 stars, I am excited that we've been to 9 out of 16 restaurants that received 1 star. Naturally, now our aim is to visit the restaurants that made it to the list which we've yet to try.

3 Stars

2 Stars
Charlie Trotters

1 Star
Crofton on Wells
Graham Elliot

I think it's fair to say that there were mixed reactions to some of the restaurants who made it to the list. First of all, L20? 3 stars? L20 offers fine dining with their degustation menu. I've known it to be a place for a special night, one where you will save up to spend on a special occasion, but my impression was that it was never on par with Grant Achatz's Alinea. I've always thought that Charlie Trotters has passed his prime, but clearly it isn't so according to the books of the Michelin inspectors. Blackbird and Graham Elliot well deserve to be on the list. Excellent service and food. Our experience at Boka has been unfortunately forgettable. We've only had Sunday brunch at Nomi and came away impressed that I'm sure their dinner service is even more impressive. Sepia is good in a classic American way of dining and not one where you will expect to find new age or avant-garde combination of ingredients in your dish. It's not a bad thing. They do their thing really well. Spiaggia was where Tim and I celebrated our engagement and how can I forget reading in the news that Barack Obama commented that Tony Mantuano from Spiaggia was his favorite chef. Spiaggia's squid ink spaghetti is still etched in my mind today. Takashi himself has a great personality. We saw him in person at a cooking demonstration and I will always remember his little humor when demonstrating how to braise pork belly. He told us in the audience, "Don't worry too much about the fat in the pork. Sometimes, eating a little bit of it is OK." The food in his restaurant was impressive with a combination of Asian cooking and French techniques. I have been extremely impressed with TRU among all the restaurants with a 1-star rating so I'm a little disappointed that TRU wasn't rated higher. The dining experience at TRU itself is an experience unto itself. The servers are trained to synchronize their movements when it comes to pouring water into everyone's glasses on the table, and when placing or removing everyone's plates on the table. My favorite part of TRU is their unbelievably good cheese cart. I only wish they can wheel me out of the restaurant on their cheese cart.



Graham Elliot

Graham Elliot


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