After months of speculation, the Michelin guide was released a day early. Both Alinea and L2O received the highest honor of three stars, while Avenues, Charlie Trotters, and Ria all picked up two. The release date was pushed up after a copy of the guide was accidentally shipped ahead of time. A commenter on Yelp unwittingly posted the full list late last night, completely unaware that he had just leaked such guarded information. Michelin is currently looking into how the book was shipped early. But with it out in the open, they decided to go ahead and publish the full official list. This will have us talking for a week.
L2O and Alinea are obviously the big winners here, as both prestigious restaurants nabbed three stars. That news is a little bittersweet for L2O, as this comes all of a week after Laurent Gras took a leave of absence from L2O for personal reasons. It is unknown whether he will ever return to the restaurant that he helped achieve such a high honor. Talk about bad timing.
For Grant Achatz, this seems more like validation than anything else. He has been very confident that Alinea deserved three stars, and just about every critic guessed that it would get three. Earlier this year, it was voted as the best restaurant in North America, and even NBC was planning on filming Jean-Luc Naret there on Wednesday. It seemed like a given, and, as it turns out, it was.
Ria, the relatively new high end spot in the Elysian Hotel is the most surprising two star recipient. It just opened last year, and while it got rave reviews, it seems like the restaurant to most benefit from this list. While some had hoped that Charlie Trotters would get three stars, it's still very impressive that a 30 year old restaurant got two. As for Avenues, it was second restaurant, behind Alinea, that most critics assumed would get three. Still, congrats all around.
It's with the one star picks that things get interesting. For Spiaggia, Topolobampo, Everest, and Tru, it's unsure whether the list will matter. Everyone assumed all of these would get stars, it was just a question of how many.
But there were some big surprises. It's safe to say that no one could have predicted that Takashi, Bonsoiree, and Longman & Eagle would all get a star. All three are far from downtown, and feature a more relaxed dining atmosphere.
Of course, what most people are going to be spending their time doing tonight is figuring out which places were completely left off the list. High on top of that list is Avec and Moto, which are both mysteriously absent. Also, Les Nomades and Courtright's, which both have four stars from the Tribune, are nowhere to be seen.
Check out the full list.