Michelin Guide Explained: Plate, Licked Lips, or Stars?
Imagine my surprise when I realized the presence of a sign that read "Michelin" did not mean that restaurant had received the coveted star. I won't bore you with ALL of the details, but there are levels to this ish!
What do I mean? Well, I guess for you to find that out I will have to bore you a little bit...
A Brief History
In the early 1900s the Michelin brothers published a free guide for French motorists, the Michelin Guide. Why do you ask? They wanted the demand for cars (i.e. car usage) to go up, because they were also tire manufacturers. Yep! You guessed it. The infamous, chubby white mascot widely known as the "Michelin Man," whose actual name is Bibendum (Bib for short) is affiliated.
Initially, the guide included maps, mechanics, hotels, gas stations, tire shops, and some other information that was deemed helpful to motorists. The guide went through several revisions that finally led to the inclusion of #restaurants. Oh, and the brothers starting charging for the guide. Let's be honest...we all know people value things more when they pay for it. Kudos to them for knowing food was the way to people's hearts. The restaurant section became so popular that the brothers recruited a team of inspectors to visit restaurants and score them. All of this was done in a hush-hush fashion of course. And voilà, the star system was born.
Alright, back to me and my amazement... You remember when I told your there was levels to this ish? Well, not all of the restaurants included in the guide have been awarded stars. In fact, they've either received the coveted "Plate" or "Bib Gourmand." Let me put this in laments terms:
The Plate Michelin (represented by a plate, knife, and fork) - Fresh ingredients, carefully prepared: A good meal
Bib Gourmand (represented by Bibendum licking his lips) - Friendly restaurants that serve good food at moderate prices
One Star - High-quality cooking. worth a stop
Two Stars - Excellent cooking, worth a detour
Three Stars - Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
Not to worry though! The ultimate goal is to be awarded a star. Thus, their inclusion in the guide means they're on the right track.
Let me tell you...Tonchin is a ramen chain of Tokyo that's found it's way to New York. I can definitely see why it was included in the guide. The food was delicious! I know you're probably wondering what rating the restaurant received? Well now that you're an expert, it shouldn't be hard for you to figure it out (lol).
There's so much more that goes into the restaurant reviews and extensive rating system. The history is fascinating. There are even symbols that represent restaurants celebrated for their excellent drinks and beverages.
I promised not to bother you with the details of it all, but I know what book is next on my reading list!!
Check out my Trip Advisor for more fun about food!