More Chicago restaurants gain Michelin stars

NEW YORK Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:10pm EST

NEW YORK Nov 12 (Reuters) - Global restaurant rater Michelin awarded its coveted stars to more Chicago restaurants in its latest guide, cementing the city's status as a showcase for young chefs and a prime U.S. food destination.

Michelin said on Tuesday it gave stars to 25 Chicago restaurants, up from 19 last year, in its 2014 guide, which will be launched on Wednesday.

"In Chicago, you continue to see a lot of the young chefs who have worked with some of the greats in the cooking world opening up their own places and making their own signature cooking," said Michael Ellis, the international director of Michelin Guides.

Alinea, which remained Chicago's sole Michelin three-star restaurant, was noted for its "exceptional cuisine" and chef Grant Achatz's changing $210 tasting menu with its avant-garde dishes and elaborate plating continues to dazzle diners and critics.

"He remains one of the top chefs in the world," Ellis said.

Two eateries, Sixteen and Grace, joined the two-star category for their "excellent cuisine," joining graham elliot restaurant and L20.

Sixteen, which is inside the Trump International Hotel, gained an additional star from the previous year after it "upped its renowned and creative contemporary cooking," according to Michelin.

It praised Grace, whose head chef and co-owner Curtis Duffy had once worked for Achatz, for "its wildly imaginative contemporary cuisine and flawless style and service."

In the one-star group, Michelin added five restaurants in its latest Chicago guide including El Ideas, a 24-seat eatery on a back street in downtown Chicago whose chef and owner Phillip Foss has won plaudits for his cutting-edge, globally inspired cuisine.

Michelin cited Elizabeth for its 20-course meal by self-taught chef Iliana Regan, who it said combines ingenuity with traditional Midwestern foods. Customers buy tickets to dine at the restaurant instead of making reservations.

The Lobby inside in the Peninsula Hotel achieved one-star status due to chef Lee Wolen's inventive menu, according to Michelin. Wolen had previously worked at the Michelin three-star Eleven Madison Park in New York.

North Pond, which is located in a former ice-skating warming house, showcases its "surprisingly complex and modern seasonal dishes" from Bruce Sherman who has been executive chef there since 1999, Michelin said.

Senza, which was opened in 2012, earned acclaim for chef Noah Sandoval's seasonal tasting menus in a low-key, elegant environment. (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Bill Trott)

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