| NEW YORK
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Celebrity French chef Daniel Boulud's name-sake restaurant has achieved three-star status, the highest rating given by Michelin that ranks eateries around the world.
Boulud's Daniel joined Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, Masa and Per Se as New York's elite restaurants, according to Michelin's 2010 rankings released on Monday.
"The main difference is consistency. His cooking has really been excellent this year," Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides, said of Daniel's top ranking.
Boulud's more casual Cafe Boulud retained its one Michelin star.
A three-star restaurant offers exceptional cuisine, a two-star establishment has excellent cuisine and a one-star eatery is very good, according to the guide.
Like Daniel, Alto, lauded for its exquisite Italian dishes, gained a star to reach two-star status.
Also making a two-star debut was Corton, known for its modern innovative cuisine from Paul Liebrandt, whom Naret called an "incredible chef."
While some restaurants gained Michelin's coveted stars, a few lost them after Michelin's reviews of them in the past year, according to Naret.
Most notably, Alain Ducasse's Adour and Del Posto co-owned by celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich fell into one-star category. Naret cited the change in head chef at Adour and a slippage at Del Posto as reasons for their drop in ranking.
Several Michelin-star eateries closed this year due to the economy. Many New York restaurants, on average, have suffered double-digit declines in year-over-year sales.
But Naret said the city's eating scene is still vibrant despite the tough economic times.
Food lovers can find "good value for their money," he added. In its latest guide, Michelin added a section of 109 New York restaurants offering a meal below $25.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Patricia Reaney)