The Michelin Guide will release its 2014 book of coveted star ratings tomorrow, and the results are in today. Overall, the number of stars doled out to Chicago restaurants increased from 19 to 25. No restaurants fell off the list from last year or lost stars. One restaurant, Sixteen, gained a star, moving up to two under chef Thomas Lents. Grace and chef Curtis Duffy made a splash, debuting with two stars after opening less than a year ago. The Michelin international director, reached by phone this morning, especially heaped praise on Grace and Sixteen.
Alinea, once again, is the only restaurant in town to receive three stars. The director said that "it's only a matter of time before Chicago has another three-star (restaurant). Our inspectors report what they find in the field so as soon as we find a third star we will award it."
Graham Elliot and L20 held onto the two-star status they held a year ago. The Michelin director said that Graham Elliot, after some upheaval in the kitchen last year and announcing that they will close to move and reconcept just days ago, lauded Elliot's personality and noted the book was finished before the closing was announced.
"We think he's got a real personality in what he does and there's a lot of excitement in the place," he said. "You never know what you'll get with Graham."
While the guide continues to applaud Grant Achatz's molecular cuisine at Alinea, it left off his other restaurant, Next, again. The director said that "it's hard to get in there and it hasn't been open long" and also talked about the consistency at Next. "Not all of it works all the time—some things work brilliantly; some things don't. We want to give it a little more time."
Five restaurants cracked the one-star category: El Ideas, North Pond, Senza, Elizabeth, and The Lobby. Chef Lee Wolen is leaving The Lobby next month, and the director says "we'll follow him very closely."
Check out the full list below:
El Ideas (N)
Longman & Eagle
North Pond (N)
The Lobby (N)
(N) new addition
* denotes change
· All Michelin Guide Coverage [-ECHI-]