What the Michelin Guide Got Right (and Wrong) in Los Angeles in 2021

© Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images Carlos Salgado of Taco María in Costa Mesa hugs the Michelin Man mascot at the star selection for the 2019 Michelin Guide in Huntington Beach on Monday, June 3, 2019.

The Michelin Guide is back (again) in greater Los Angeles, following a one-year pause as a result of the ongoing global pandemic. Still, those anonymous diners must have managed to make it out to many of California’s restaurants over the last year-plus, as the Michelin team awarded a bunch of new stars across the state today. For the full list of new star winners, head here. Below, find Eater LA’s editorial team discussion about what the Michelin group got right, and wrong, for 2021.

Upscale still matters … to Michelin

One thing is clear: small, intimate sushi and kaiseki restaurants are basically the highest form of dining for Michelin. That, and decadent French or Italian food; those are often the only players Michelin allows to compete for its star designations. It’s inherently a European and Western-centric view of what good food is, and I think by this point, most seasoned Angeleno diners know that the best kind of dining doesn’t rely on those strictures. That being said, I’m happy for the winners here. Let’s run down each of the new local star designations.

Winners

Hayato: An esteemed Japanese destination in Downtown LA’s ROW gets a second star. Well deserved it seems, and it’ll be even harder now to get a reservation at Brandon Go’s culinary temple.

Mélisse: Josiah Citrin was smart to angle his Santa Monica space into two sections — one for the more casual Citrin, which isn’t actually that casual but still retains a lot of the chef’s stellar execution, and the more formal, intimate Mélisse that only serves a tasting menu. This is a two-star dining destination that seems on par with Michelin’s sensibilities, with the price to match. It’s great to see a legacy fine-dining restaurant like this continue to adapt and serve compelling food.

Gucci Osteria by Massimo Bottura: I haven’t eaten here yet because I haven’t allocated two months of my dining budget for the eventual bill, but I can totally understand why it gets a star here. A restaurant owned by a luxury European fashion brand and operated by a world-famous chef from Italy receives a star. But its Michelin designation shows a complete lack of understanding of what Angeleno diners care about. Michelin has never really cared about representing local food culture, only seeing which places fit into its own constructs of good food. Gucci Osteria barely making a cultural impact on the LA dining scene yet earning this star is evidence of that.

© Sushi Inaba website Sushi I-Naba.

Phenakite: Fantastic award for a chef who has earned every accolade. A great story for LA.

Pasjoli: Certainly one of the top new entries in LA’s dining scene since it opened in 2019. Dave Beran has shifted his focus to Pasjoli after closing Dialogue, which earned one star in the Michelin Guide’s first year back in LA. Well deserved.

Sushi I-Naba: This is Manhattan Beach’s first-ever Michelin star and it goes into a tiny omakase place that, when it first opened a few years ago, went almost completely unnoticed. The prototypical Michelin spot.

Pasta Bar: No one on the planet has wanted a Michelin star more than Phillip Frankland Lee, and now he has two: one for his Encino pasta tasting menu place and another for Sushi Bar in Montecito. Now the mountain has been scaled.

Morihiro: Morihiro Onodera gains a star in his first year of operation, no easy feat. His former restaurant, which still bears his name, retains its Michelin star as well.

Knife Pleat: Former LA chef Tony Esnault takes the upscale French-ish formula to Orange County, and it works.

Question marks

Why do Maude and Le Comptoir still have stars when they haven’t been open basically throughout the duration of the pandemic?

Closures

Trois Mec, Somni, Urasawa. The closures of Trois Mec and Somni were well documented, but it’s interesting that no one (including Eater) really covered the sudden and quiet shutter of the enigmatic and semi-hidden Urasawa, one of LA’s finest temples of Japanese food, and one fraught with legal issues. The $400-plus experience in Beverly Hills had a long history, operating previously as Ginza Sushi-ko under chef Masa Takayama. Hiroyuki Urasawa was Takayama’s apprentice before taking over the spot in 2003. — Matthew Kang

A new lens

While it remains true (and likely always will) that Michelin overlooks some of the best dining destinations in greater Los Angeles — from street food to Korean restaurants — I am heartened to see the inspectors branch out juuuuust a bit, if only geographically. Kudos to Pasta Bar, located in an Encino strip mall; congrats to Phenakite by Minh Phan, housed in a creative co-working space in Hollywood; and a round of applause to Knife Pleat by chef Tony Esnault, who plies his trade inside an Orange County shopping mall.

In that same vein, I’m really pleased to see some of the Central Coast’s most vibrant restaurants earn the recognition that they have long deserved. Bell’s in tiny Los Alamos has been pulling in weekending Angelenos for a few years now, enticing them with wide-open spaces and fine French bistro food (plus some of California’s best barbecue that pops up on weekends). The Bell’s team, fine dining vets who hail from New York City, certainly know how to turn out a winner, and they just recently turned on the lights for their second project, Bar Le Côté in Los Olivos. Now they’ve got their own star to add to the coast’s open skies.

© Farley Elliott Crackers and anchovies from Bell’s.

It’s also easy to root for Six Test Kitchen, the diminutive Paso Robles fine-dining restaurant from chef Ricky Odbert, who himself hails from nearby Arroyo Grande. The 12-seater is flush with Central Coast flourishes and luxury ingredients, a nod to Odbert’s past experience cooking at a high level across San Francisco. It’s a rare day when a restaurant that began as an experiment inside of a literal garage can earn itself a new home, and a new star, all in a city with a population that’s less than half of Redondo Beach. (Of course, the two-Michelin-starred Harbor House in Northern California is located in Elk, CA, with a population of around 200).

As for the rest of it, well … Michelin is going to do whatever it thinks is best. There’s certainly room in LA for more diversity (of cuisine, of people, of price point, and of geographic location) when it comes to these annual guides, but asking year after year for the tire company to address its own inequities isn’t likely to amount to much. Instead, congrats to all those who earned a star or two today for the hard work and achievement, assuming they’ve even worked toward this moment as goal in the first place. For the rest of LA, it’s back to doing what we do best: eating well, without worrying much about awards handed out from on high. — Farley Elliott

Dear Michelin Guide,

I feel like we’ve been in a complex relationship. You ghosted me. Actually, you ghosted all of Los Angeles for over a decade, awarding restaurants in the Bay Area, Northern California, or even outlying areas for a long time, pretending that we don’t exist. But now you’re back. And this time, just like the last one, you’re playing nice and not really offering an explanation about what happened. Why did you leave us so abruptly, only to return to Los Angeles with a bouquet of Michelin stars and a smile?

I am grateful that you awarded Knife Pleat, Sushi I-Naba, Hayato, Melisse, Pasjoli, and Phenakite this year. These restaurants maintain loyalty from regular diners who adore their food. But every single winner is either Japanese, French, Italian, in addition to fine dining from chef Minh Phan. Italian chef Mossimo Bottura is barely two years into his rooftop osteria in Beverly Hills (mostly during the pandemic), while Morihiro’s new menu is a pricey and unusual add to Atwater Village. Also unusual is keeping Le Comptoir’s Michelin status, but no one, as far as we know, can make a reservation at the acclaimed restaurant. From my perspective, this is all a largely Eurocentric view of what you consider notable.

Though a formidable list, the 2021 awardees barely scratch the surface of what Los Angeles represents. I always look at what’s missing as well as the snubs, which amount to the qualities and food genres that span Mexican, Taiwanese, Thai, much of the Middle East, Korean, Black- and Latino-owned eateries, Chinese, plant-based, and many more cuisines this city excels at.

© Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA Grilled meats, rice, beans, and farofa from WoodSpoon in Downtown LA, a recent recipient of the Michelin Bib Gourmand designation.

We could make up, but that would mean a lot of couples therapy. But before we have our first session, I would recommend analyzing the vastness of Southern California. In fact, the entire state is massive, yet no three stars awarded to any restaurant in a state that has 40 million people? Is it impossible for Los Angeles or any California restaurant to gain Michelin’s recognition for the coveted award for “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey?”

Speaking of California, why the high concentration of Michelin awards in the Bay Area? No one is saying the awards given to San Francisco, Oakland, and Wine Country were undeserved, but you’ve been concentrating on the Bay Area for some time. Los Angeles needs that same type of rigorous exploration and focus.

As for the Bib Gourmands (“a good quality menu for a modest price”), Los Angeles embodies this. It is entirely possible to locate an incredible meal for under $40 throughout the county. You announced LA’s winners earlier this month, with extraordinary choices like Bettina, La Azteca, and WoodSpoon, but you managed to exclude all ramen restaurants in America’s ramen capital.

We’re a pleasant lot, us 10 million Los Angeles County residents who live in our distinct neighborhoods. Those areas are filled with dining destinations by restaurant owners, chefs, and experienced staff who create conversations around food and impact the culture beyond our borders.

I’m glad you’re back. But we’ve got deep work to do. — Mona Holmes

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Eaton left with compression fracture after hitting "ridiculous" COTA kerb

© Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images Abbie Eaton Eaton ran over one of the sausage kerbs at Turn 15 during race one at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, which ... Read more »

10 minute recipes: Cook savoury porridge in a jiffy

When it comes to comfort food, savoury porridge definitely tops the list. It makes us feel warm and at ease. While most of us associate porridge with being an easy-to-make ... Read more »

A Warner Bros. crossover platform fighter similar to Super Smash Bros. is rumored to be in development

© Provided by GamePur A Reddit user on the subreddit r/GamingLeaksAndRumors claimed on October 22 that Netherrealm Studios – the developer known for both the Mortal Kombat and Injustice game ... Read more »

EU medicines agency starts review of Merck oral Covid drug

THE HAGUE: The EU’s medicines watchdog said Monday it had started a review of an oral Covid medication from the US pharmaceutical firm Merck, raising hopes for an easy-to-administer treatment ... Read more »

Mickey Ferriols at Manilyn Reynes, may tips sa mga mommy para maging fit and healthy

Mickey Ferriols at Manilyn Reynes Naniniwala ang mga celebrity mommies na sina Mickey Ferriols at Manilyn Reynes na health is wealth. Kaya naman sa programang “Pinoy MD,” ibinahagi nila ang ... Read more »

5 senators file bill removing withdrawal as basis for candidate's substitution

Senate of the Philippines Five senators on Monday filed a bill seeking to amend the Omnibus Election Code by removing withdrawal as a basis of a candidate’s substitution. Senate Bill ... Read more »

Makabayan: Neri exclusion a blow to campaign vs. Marcos-Duterte alliance

© Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB Atty. Neri Colmenares at Senate hearing, Dec. 1, 2020. Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB The exclusion of Neri Colmenares in the slate of Vice President Leni Robredo was ... Read more »

No. 3 Rutgers field hockey earns program record tenth ranked win this season

© Rutgers Athletics Lucy Bannatye (no. 22) scored twice in the victory over OSU. After No. 3 Rutgers field hockey suffered a 3-0 defeat to No. 2 Michigan on Friday, ... Read more »

Cebu City allows entry of fully vaccinated persons sans COVID-19 test

© 24 Oras screenshot Cebu City skyline Cebu City government on Monday loosened its requirements for inbound travelers who are fully vaccinated as the locality was placed under Alert Level ... Read more »

Islamic State group claims responsibility for Uganda blast

© Provided by Associated Press Police secure a road leading to the scene of an explosion in the Komamboga suburb of the capital Kampala, Uganda Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Police ... Read more »

Uganda investigating Islamist link to bombing after IS responsibility claim

© Reuters/ABUBAKER LUBOWA Ugandan police members and explosives experts secure the scene of an explosion in Komamboga, on the northern outskirts of Kampala By Elias Biryabarema KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda ... Read more »

International reaction to the seizure of power by Sudan's military

© Reuters/MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH Protest against prospect of military rule in Khartoum (Reuters) – Following are international reactions to the seizure of power by the military in Sudan, where soldiers ... Read more »

15 Impressive Halloween Makeup Ideas You Can Pull Off Last Minute

© Provided by Preview.ph Did you forget to plan your Halloween costume ahead? Don’t worry, your makeup skills might be able to save you this year. Ahead, we list 15 ... Read more »

The Magic of Christmas Station IDs: ABS-CBN, GMA Network, TV5 continue to Give Hope with Inspiring Christmas Anthems

It’s that time of the year when TV networks in the Philippines release their official jingles for their annual Christmas Station IDs. The pandemic is still around, but Filipinos hope ... Read more »

LOOK: Long Lines Outside Apple Stores on Weekend of iPhone 13 Release

© Provided by Spot.ph PHOTO BY Facebook/Power Mac Center © Provided by Spot.ph PHOTO BY Facebook/Power Mac Center (SPOT.ph) The highly anticipated iPhone 13, Apple’s latest flagship smartphone, was officially ... Read more »

Chua, Paderes grab 3 golds each in national swim trials

© Business Mirror XIANDI CHUA swept her three events on Sunday including a thrilling women’s 100-meter freestyle race at the conclusion of the Philippine Swimming, Inc. National Selection bubble at ... Read more »

10 OOTDs from Kathryn Bernardo That'll Convince You to Wear Neutrals from Head to Toe

© Provided by Preview.ph You’d be hard-pressed to find a local celeb as committed to the neutral slouchy-chic look as Kathryn Bernardo. The former teen queen’s style is pretty unassuming ... Read more »

Niana Guerrero, AC Bonifacio, and More Performers to Watch for at BaiCon 2021

© Provided by Candy ICYMI, Y2K is more than just a nostalgic fashion and beauty trend in the Philippines… It’s also the theme for this year’s BaiCon InFest.This year’s theme is ... Read more »

Jordi GDL shuns comparisons as he aspires 'to be best version of me'

© Provided by SPIN.ph JORDI is the next Gomez de Liano in line to make his mark in basketball. Make no mistake, though, he’s the first Jordi. Just Jordi. Of course, ... Read more »

Yulo secures gold in vault

© Business Mirror CARLOS YULO triple-twisted in the air with a flourish and landed excellently on both feet with a smooth flair and unbent poise to clinch the men’s vault ... Read more »

What happens when Ellen Adarna catches son Elias playing with concealer

© Provided by PEP.ph Elias Modesto Cruz was caught playing with a concealer. The video posted by his mom Ellen Adarna on her Instagram feed shows the tot’s hands and ... Read more »

Troy Rosario suffers spinal shock, may need surgery for dislocated finger

© Provided by SPIN.ph IT appears a dislocated finger wasn’t the only the damage caused on TnT forward Troy Rosario by the bad fall he suffered in Game Three. The 29-year-old stretch forward ... Read more »

Is Rafi Reavis the key for Magnolia to stop Mikey Williams?

© Provided by SPIN.ph HAS Magnolia solved the riddle that is Mikey Williams by putting the 6-foot-8 Rafi Reavis against him? Rafi Reavis vs Mikey Williams As their guards and ... Read more »

Ref who made controversial Game 3 call removed from Philippine Cup Finals series

PBA logo The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) said the referee who made a controversial call in Game 3 will no longer be officiating another game in the 2021 PBA Philippine ... Read more »

This Is the Exact Puff Sleeve Crop Top That Pia Wurtzbach Will Convince You to Shop

© Provided by Preview.ph Every now and then, a seriously scroll-stopping outfit enters our radar and prompts some fashion sleuthing. Modern Filipiniana connoisseurs in particular will love this week’s spotting: ... Read more »

Kylie Padilla, prinotektahan pa rin si Aljur Abrenica sa kabila ng alitan nila

© Provided by PEP.ph GORGY RULA Masaya ba kayo sa exclusive interview ni Jessica Soho kay Kylie Padilla na napanood sa Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho nitong Oktubre 24, Linggo ng ... Read more »

Wow, The Production Budget For 'Jirisan' Is Reportedly P1.3 Billion

© Provided by Cosmopolitan Philippines ICYMI: tvN’s most anticipated K-drama of the year has *finally* premiered! Over the weekend, Jirisan swept the internet and became a trending topic on Twitter. Additionally, it achieved ... Read more »

Skip the Boarding Line With This New Cebu Pacific Add-On

© Provided by Spot.ph PHOTO courtesy of cebu pacific © Provided by Spot.ph PHOTO courtesy of cebu pacific (SPOT.ph) With vaccination underway, Filipino travelers are getting more and more confident ... Read more »

Kylie Verzosa, nagbigay ng update sa kinasangkutang insidente ng boyfriend na si Jake Cuenca

© Provided by PEP.ph Nanggaling sa girlfriend ni Jake Cuenca na si Kylie Verzosa ang impormasyong naayos na ang problema sa pagitan ng kanyang boyfriend at ng mga miyembro ng ... Read more »

Cindy Miranda, hanga sa katatagan ni Kylie Padilla; nagulat sa relasyong Aljur-AJ

© Provided by PEP.ph Naranasan ni Cindy Miranda na maging biktima ng mga batikos sa social media dahil isa siya sa mga napagbintangan na ugat ng paghihiwalay nina Kylie Padilla ... Read more »

PAGASA announces onset of Amihan season

© Dave Leprozo Baguio City and Benguet province are experiencing dipping temperatures as PAGASA records 12 degrees Celsius at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, February 7, 2018. Baguio folks start bundling ... Read more »

Bato dela Rosa meets Sara Duterte, reminds her of Nov. 15 substitution deadline

Sara Duterte Bato dela Rosa The standard bearer of the ruling PDP-Laban Ronald Dela Rosa met Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte at her office on Monday. The meeting happened a ... Read more »

Restored Manila Metropolitan Theater welcomes its first live performance

Haunted theater no more, the historic Manila Metropolitan Theater has returned to its grand tradition of housing the Philippines’ most revered life performances after it concluded its inaugural show, the ... Read more »

Combining milk and cashew can give you a good night's sleep, suggests Rujuta Diwekar

We’ve often heard of haldi doodh benefits in evading restlessness at night, but here’s something refreshing! Nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar suggests that cashews can also help you relax at the ... Read more »

From hibiscus to yuzu: the foods set to trend in 2022

© Provided by COVER News India Ingredients such as moringa, turmeric, and yuzu are set to sweep the food scene in 2022. Over the past year, upcycled foods, boozy kombucha, ... Read more »

Opponents of critical race theory seek to flip school boards

© Provided by Associated Press People walk near one of many signs around town centered around the upcoming Nov. 2 election and equity initiatives in schools in Guilford, Conn., on ... Read more »

Everything we know about Deadeye, VALORANT's potential next agent

© Provided by Dot Esports All clues point towards codename Deadeye being VALORANT’s next agent. The next agent joining the game will be another Sentinel that “focuses on mechanical outplays,” ... Read more »

Lebanese judge charges dozens over fatal Beirut clashes

© Reuters/AZIZ TAHER FILE PHOTO: Supporters of the Shi’ite Amal Movement carry the coffin of a man during his funeral in Nmairiyeh village BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Lebanese judge on ... Read more »

French President Macron calls for immediate release of Sudan Prime Minister

© Reuters/POOL EU Summit in Brussels PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday condemned the coup attempt in Sudan and called for the immediate release of the Sudanese ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic