As the new 2010 Michelin Guide San Francisco goes on sale today with its discriminating picks for the top Bay Area restaurants, South Bay chefs would be wise to keep their eyes peeled for those sneaky inspectors coming their way.
With the 2011 guide, Michelin plans to expand its coverage of the South Bay, according to Jean-Luc Naret, director of the guides, whom I spoke with by phone yesterday.
“To be honest, the first year of the guide we went as far as Los Gatos only because of Manresa,” Naret says of the first San Francisco guide that came out four years ago. “We want to expand that coverage. I can’t say how far south we will go yet. It all depends on the restaurants we find.”
This year, Silicon Valley was represented by Chez TJ in Mountain View, Plumed Horse in Saratoga, and the Village Pub in Woodside, each of which garnered a coveted one-star rating. Trevese in Los Gatos, also received one star, but closed a month ago.
In the new 2010 guide, which retails for $17.99, the East Bay received a closer look this time around, with the inclusion of restaurants in Walnut Creek, Emeryville and Lafayette.
All in all, there are 110 more restaurants than last year’s guide.
But some things have stayed the same. The French Laundry in Yountville remains the only three-star restaurant. It is one of only 80 three-star restaurants in the world, Naret says.
Three stars, which mean “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey,” is the highest rating Michelin awards. Two stars mean “excellent cuisine, worth a detour.” One star is “a very good restaurant in its category.”
This year’s top-rated restaurants are:
*** The French Laundry
* Acquerello, Ame, Auberge du Soleil, Aziza, Bouchon, Boulevard, Chez Panisse, Chez TJ, Commis, The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, El Paseo (now closed), Etoile, Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Fifth Floor, Fleur de Lys, Gary Danko, La Folie, La Toque, Luce, Madrona Manor, Masa’s, Michael Mina, Murray Circle, One Market, Plumed Horse, Quince, Range, Redd, Sante, Solbar, Terra, Trevese (now closed), Ubuntu, and the Village Pub.
Seven restaurants received one star for the first time: Aziza, Commis, La Toque, Luce, Sante, Terra and Ubuntu.
Yesterday, the top restaurants may have celebrated with the popping of bubbly. But today, it’s business as usual, as the 10 U.S.-based Michelin inspectors (all of them American) get back to eating and reviewing ever so surreptitiously.