clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Should LA Care That the Michelin Guide Picked D.C. Over the City of Angels?

New, 9 comments

LA Times critic Jonathan Gold just shrugs

Outside Orsa & Winston, Downtown LA, surely a Michelin-worthy restaurant
Outside Orsa & Winston, Downtown LA, surely a Michelin-worthy restaurant
Darin Dines
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Yesterday the Michelin Guide announced that it would be awarding stars and publishing a guide for the city of Washington D.C., causing a bit of an outcry that the prestigious organization wasn't returning to the city of Angels. Recall that the Michelin Guide arrived in LA in 2009, at the height of the recession, before ceasing operations in 2010.

Today the Washington Post writes a story discussing D.C.'s upcoming Michelin Guide in lieu of a return to the country's second largest city. Frank Bruni, former New York Times restaurant critic, thinks its a bit of travesty:

Anyway, I've long thought that L.A. is an unfairly overlooked and denigrated restaurant town, due to stereotypes—some of them deserved—about how much movie people do and don't care about food. But there are fantastic restaurants at every price point in L.A. It deserves a place in the Michelin Guide, period. [WP]

However, the Post reached out to LA's own Jonathan Gold, who kind of shrugged at the notion that Michelin ought to return to the city:

I suppose I should be miffed about the insult to the honor of my city, but in their two editions here, the Michelin ratings seemed uniquely ill-suited to evaluating Los Angeles restaurants, which tend to aspire to different things than the restaurants in Paris.

The Goldster goes on:

I think Michelin is fairly useless outside France — in Italy you actively want to stay away from starred restaurants, which tend to be more notable for their napery than for their cooking — but in Los Angeles, it was just wrong.

Perhaps the best takeaway was from the Post's critic Tom Sietsema, who recently placed L.A. as the third best food city in America.

After eating a taco, Sietsema wrote that "the snack represented a lot about what makes the second-largest city in the nation a top-tier place to eat: sun-kissed ingredients, chefs' willingness to buck convention and an audience open to eating just about anything, just about anywhere...If L.A. is missing one thing in its mouthwatering offerings, it's the experience of fine dining, rare as a necktie

It's interesting that LA's fine dining scene seems to be dismissed by the critics, though there certainly are standout restaurants that would be worthy of Michelin stars.  Given that many of the restaurants that were initially awarded one or two stars back in 2009 and 2010 are still operating, such as Providence, Spago, Urasawa, and Melisse, plus the addition of newer tasting menu destinations Trois Mec, Orsa & Winston, and Maude, shouldn't the guide at least consider issuing stars in the city of LA?

Any thoughts on the Michelin Guide hitting D.C. before returning to Los Angeles? Does the dining public really care at this point? Should the Red Guide make a triumphant return to the city of Angels or should it stay in places like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco? Hit the comments section with thoughts.