Tokyo has once again retained its title as the city with the most Michelin starred restaurants — 230, of which a record 13 hold three stars — but the lauded French guide released its designations for San Francisco and the Wine Country today, and the Greater Bay Area did quite well, going from seven to eight restaurants with the highest distinction. That’s the most ever, and three more than New York’s five.
The most exciting news was the (arguably overdue) third star for Dominique Crenn’s Cow Hollow treasure, Atelier Crenn, citing a “wonderful balance of grace, artistry, technical ability and taste.” It corrects what has widely been perceived as a slight with sexist undertones, and Crenn has been very vocal about misogyny and double standards in the male-dominated industry. The video of her, behind the bar at Bar Crenn, on the phone with a Michelin representative while her anxious staff anticipates the news, is delightful.
In Healdsburg, Kyle and Katina Connaughton’s two-year-old SingleThread also went from two to three stars, joining Benu, The French Laundry, Manresa, Quince, The Restaurant at Meadowood, and Saison at the top tier. (Coi dropped from three stars to two, after chef Erik Anderson’s somewhat uneven transition from Matthew Kirksey’s tenure.)
Apart from Coi, the other five restaurants with two stars remained unchanged: Acquerello, Californios, and Lazy Bear in San Francisco, Palo Alto’s Baumé, and Oakland’s Commis — still the only restaurant in the East Bay with even a single star.
There are 43 restaurants with one star, of which four are new arrivals for 2019: San Francisco’s Bar Crenn, Birdsong, and Nico, along with Madcap in San Anselmo and Protege in Palo Alto. Yes, that would be a fourth star overall, to so speak, for Dominique Crenn. Notably, only two restaurants vanished from the list: Terrapin Creek in Bodega Bay, and San Jose’s Adega.