TOKYO Michelin has come out with its very first guides to fine dining in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Tokyo, but if you're an aficionado of haute cuisine as defined by Michelin, you'll be getting on the next plane to Japan.
Michelin's inspectors are notoriously stingy with their praise, but eight restaurants in Tokyo, including two sushi eateries, got three stars. In contrast, Michelin anointed just one Vegas restaurant Joel Robuchon's at the MGM Grand worthy of the highest three-star rating, while no restaurant in Los Angeles earned more than two.
All in all, Michelin awarded a total of 191 stars to 150 restaurants in Tokyo more stars than in any other city in the world, including Paris. Paris has a total of 65 stars for all of its restaurants, but can still claim to have the most three-star or top-rated restaurants, with 10.
Michelin also crowned 82-year-old Jiro Ono of Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in central Tokyo as the world's oldest three-star chef.
"Tokyo is a shining star in the world of cuisine," Michelin Guides Director Jean-Luc Naret said at a news conference. He declared Tokyo "the world leader in gourmet dining."
Robuchon, who has restaurants all over the world, received his first three-star Michelin rating in 1981 in Paris.
Three Las Vegas restaurants earned two stars Alex, Guy Savoy and Picasso and 12 restaurants earned one star.
In Los Angeles, two stars were awarded to three restaurants: Wolfgang Puck's Spago and the Japanese restaurant Urasawa, both in Beverly Hills, and Melisse in Santa Monica. Fifteen restaurants in Los Angeles were awarded one Michelin star, including Providence, Sona, Water Grill, Ortolan, Patina, Ritz-Carlton Huntington Dining Room, Mori Sushi, La Botte and Joe's.
According to the guide, three stars denotes "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey," and a two-star restaurant serves "excellent cuisine, worth a detour." But just being listed in the guide, even with no stars, is considered an honor.
Michelin started as a tire company, and its first guide, published in 1900, was created to give drivers information about where to service cars and find accommodations and food. The company branched out from its European base in 2005 with a guide to New York City, followed by one for San Francisco.
The new Tokyo guide was Michelin's first outside Europe and the United States.
Also this fall, ViaMichelin, a subsidiary of the Michelin group, launched a portable GPS navigation system, the X-970, integrated with information on thousands of attractions from Michelin's Green Guides to the U.S. and Canada. You can also send content from ViaMichelin.com to the X-970 unit.