New York's Jean-Georges restaurant loses 3-star Michelin status

(Reuters) - Michelin has stripped New York restaurant Jean-Georges of its three-star rating in its 2018 guide, leaving the city with five top-rated eateries, two fewer than San Francisco which now has the most three-star establishments in the United States.

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Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant, in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in midtown Manhattan, was decorated with three stars when Michelin started rating the city’s restaurants more than a decade ago. It now has two stars in the latest dining guide, which will launch on Wednesday.

“For a three-star, there’s got to be a ‘wow’ factor,” Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guide, said on Monday. “We were not finding that level of flavor and execution. We would be remiss to not take a note of that,” he said of Jean-Georges’ downgrade.

Michelin’s three-star rating, coveted by chefs and restaurateurs, is rare with just over 100 establishments around the world holding that distinction.

Vongerichten is “a very talented chef,” Ellis said. “We are confident he could come back and get his three star back.”

Jean-Georges’ downgrade marked the second time in four years that New York lost a three-star eatery. In 2014, Daniel Boulud’s Daniel dropped to a two-star.

Michelin’s grading system uses anonymous reviewers in 28 countries. Some argue it is rigid and overlooks some restaurants that critics and diners praise.

In the latest guide, New York has 72 restaurants with Michelin stars, which is the most in U.S. cities it reviews. A total of 55 restaurants have stars in the San Francisco region, including wine-producing Napa and Sonoma counties, as have 25 restaurants in Chicago and 14 in Washington.

“New York remains an important center for gastronomy in the United States and around the world,” Ellis said.

New York restaurants Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa and Per Se kept their three-star status for their “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

The city’s Aquavit, Aska, Atera, Blanca, Jungsik, Ko, Marea and The Modern all kept their two-star status for “excellent cuisine, worth a detour.” They were joined by Sushi Ginza Onodera, which moved up from one-star last year.

Japanese restaurants Satusik, Sushi Amane and Bar Uchū were awarded one star for the first time for their “high quality cooking, worth a stop.” They were also joined by Cote, The Clocktower and Rouge Tomate.

Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Susan Thomas