Star inflation from Michelin

Missed this while I was in Asia. In case you did as well, from Salon, Did Michelin lower the bar for New York? Examines whether Michelin food reviewers lowered the famous guide's standards for the first-ever New York Edition. There's lots of opinion in this piece, much of which makes sense to me.

But putting aside subjective judgments, there are some reasonably objective indicators that suggest Michelin lowered the bar for New York. For one thing, Michelin broke its own rules in awarding three stars to any New York restaurants. It has long been Michelin policy that restaurants being reviewed for the first time are not eligible for three stars, no matter how good the food and service; the guide wants to see evidence of staying power before it catapults a chef and restaurant to, well, stardom. At the very least, a big exception was made for Per Se, which has been in business for only a year and a half (and which was presumably visited by Michelin's inspectors months ago).

I have only eaten at one French three-star (Pierre Gagnaire) and I've eaten at the French Laundry and Per Se and Daniel (and Daniel didn't even get three stars) stateside, and I don't think Pierre Gagnaire was any better than any of the other meals. Granted, that's not a lot of evidence…an interesting read none the less.