Japanese Restaurants Earn Michelin Stars for 2017

It’s that time of year again – the time when the MICHELIN Guide evaluates the data collected from its anonymous inspectors to see which restaurants receive the coveted stars.

In 1900 Andre and Edouard Michelin, two brothers who founded the famed tire company in France, created a travel guide to help Europe’s new car drivers find quality places to eat and sleep while on the road. The guide now covers 28 countries focusing on a region’s culinary traits, restaurant trends, and superstar chefs. 2017 marks the twelfth edition for New York, which was the first city outside of Europe to have a MICHELIN Guide.

“At first there was France, then Europe, but now there’s the world, and New York is the gateway,” says Edouard Michelin, the great-grandson of the co-founder of the same name. “New York makes you discover other cuisines.”

And one of those cuisines to discover is clearly Japanese. As far as Japanese restaurants go, there are a lot of familiar names to receive one, two, or three stars for 2017. Of the 17 Japanese restaurants that made the list, five make their MICHELIN Guide debuts. For the first time in the history of the MICHELIN rating system, a restaurant located in Harlem received a star, and it’s Japanese: Sushi Inoue, which opened in July 2016. It seems that even though the ramen boom in New York City is going strong, MICHELIN’s inspectors still tend to recognize sushi as the bastion of Japanese cuisine.

Four Japanese restaurants dropped off the list: Sushi Azabu, Rosanjin, Brushstroke, and Ichimura at Brushstroke. Eater NY reports that Chef Eiji Ichimura left Brushstroke in early November to focus on his own project.

Notably not on the list is Sushi Nakazawa, the enclave of former Jiro Dreams of Sushi disciple Daisuke Nakazawa. Although Zagat reviewers voted the critically acclaimed West Village sushi spot the best new restaurant in 2015, it failed to make the Michelin inspectors’ cut for the third year in a row. The snub was one of the reasons that the New York Post proclaimed the guide to be “moronic” and the 2017 edition as “the worst yet.”

Agree or disagree, love it or hate it, here is the list of Japanese restaurants to receive stars in the 2017 MICHELIN Guide, followed by the Bib Gourmands, where a handful of ramen restaurants get their due.

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

 

Three Stars (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”)
Masa
10 Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center
Type of Cuisine: Sushi
The well-appointed sushi restaurant is considered to have this country’s most expensive tasting menu, and its owner/chef, Masa Takayama, is the fascinating subject of a recent episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on CNN.

 

Two Stars (“excellent cuisine, worth a detour”)

Momofuku Ko
8 Extra Place
Type of Cuisine: American Nouveau, Japanese/Sushi, and Korean cuisine
You can argue that Momofuku Ko isn’t a Japanese restaurant in its purest respects. Although it’s not specifically Japanese, star chef David Chang did name the restaurant after Momofuku Ando, the brains behind the Nissin Cup Noodle. Although Ando himself wasn’t ethnically Japanese – he was born in Taiwan – ramen noodles are an inherent part of Japanese culture.

Soto
357 Sixth Avenue
Type of cuisine: Sushi
New York Magazine’s review of Soto stated, “By New York standards, however, the sushi at Chef Kosugi’s restaurant is good but not fabulous,” Sotohiro Kosugi’s West Village sushi spot continues to receive two Michelin stars.

 

One Star (“A very good restaurant in its category”)

Cagen
414 E. 9th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi/Kappo Ryori
“Mr. Tomita’s samurai intensity supplies extra atmosphere,” Pete Wells wrote in his 2014 review of Cagen in The New York Times. Mr. Tomita is Chef Toshio Tomita, a former corporate chef for Nobu, and he specializes in kappo, traditional or sophisticated Japanese cuisine.

Hirohisa
73 Thompson Street
Type of cuisine: Seasonal Japanese
“Two things will quickly become clear: the ingredients are exceptional and the technical skills of the chefs considerable,” writes the MICHELIN Guide inspectors. “This is food that is as rewarding to eat as it is restorative.”

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

From hirohisa-nyc.com

Jewel Bako
239 E. 5th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
This East Village sushi enclave has earned consecutive Michelin stars for more than a decade. The website The Sushi Legend recommends sitting at the sushi bar and ordering the omakase, which Jewel Bako says is traditional sushi prepared in a modern way.

Kajitsu
125 E. 39th Street
Type of cuisine: Shojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian)
“Kajitsu is such a special place that it deserves to be part of the conversation when it comes to essential New York restaurants,” The Infatuation says in its review of this classic kaiseki restaurant.

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

From kajitsunyc.com

Kanoyama *New*
175 2nd Avenue
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Zagat reviewers say, “The sushi is ‘always fresh’ and ‘wonderful’ at this no-frills East Village Japanese.”

Kyo Ya
94 E. 7th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi/Kaiseki
Kaiseki is a multi-course Japanese meal that pays special attention to the seasonality of ingredients. Chef Chikara Sono respects seafood and vegetables at the peak of their freshness and incorporates them into carefully crafted courses.

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

Multi-course meal at Kyo Ya

Sushi Ginza Onodera *New*
461 5th Avenue
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Eater NY calls a meal at Sushi Ginza Onodera, which opened earlier this year, “a $400 sushi experience that’s worth it.”

Sushi of Gari
402 E. 78th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Named “Best Avant-Garde Sushi” by New York Magazine in 2003, Sushi of Gari owner/chef Masatoshi “Gari” Sugio opened his first restaurant in New York City in 1997.

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

From sushiofgari.com

Sushi Inoue *New*
481 Lenox Avenue
Type of cuisine: Sushi
In July 2015 Chef Shinichi Inoue opened the first restaurant in Harlem to receive a Michelin star. Receiving such accolades is not new to him; the Nagasaki native also earned a Michelin star for his work at Sushi Azabu. His eponymous establishment offers four different omakase choices, and the Village Voice describes a meal at Sushi Inoue as “ . . . a dining experience that’s steeped in ritual and yet unique.”

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

From sushiinioue.com

Sushi Yasuda
204 E. 43rd Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Since 1999 Sushi Yasuda has been serving classic, no-frills sushi (i.e., no rolls with cream cheese or jalapeños) in Midtown East. The minimalist approach to the food and the interior prompted The New York Times to call it a “standout shrine to sushi.”

Sushi Zo *New*
88 W. 3rd Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
“Without a doubt, this is the best, most ethereal, glossy fish I’ve had in New York,” writes Eater Drinks Editor Kat Odell about Sushi Zo. One year after expanding from LA to the West Village, the omakase restaurant that strives on achieving the perfect balance between the fish and the rice, earned a Michelin star.

Tempura Matsui
222 E. 39th Street
Type of cuisine: Tempura
This is not the same style of over-breaded fried food that some people think of when they hear “tempura.” This is high-end, fine dining with a set tasting menu at $200. Revered chef Masao Matsui, who opened the restaurant in 2015, died of cancer in February 2016, but Chef Shin Kato continues to prepare tempura in the same delicate fashion.

Tori Shin
362 W. 53rd Street
Type of cuisine: Yakitori
The first yakitori restaurant to earn a Michelin star, Tori Shin continues to excel in cuisine and service. Chef Atsushi Kono prepares an omakase menu that uses every part of the chicken, which he purchases from a free-range farm in Pennsylvania. Tori Shin is also Anthony Bourdain’s favorite restaurant in New York City. “I like the chicken hearts and all the fatty pieces,” Bourdain says. “I always get there early and get all of those little cuts that run out early. That makes me happy – little chicken pieces on skewers and cold beer.”

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

From torishinny.com

Ushiwakamaru *New*
362 W. 23rd Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Once in SoHo, Ushiwakamaru relocated to Chelsea in 2015 and has now earned its first Michelin star. MUNCHIES, VICE’s digital video channel, did a profile of Ushiwakamaru owner/chef Hideo Kuribara, showing us his daily routine and dedication to sushi.

Bib Gourmands (“Inspectors’ favorites for good value”)
Michelin defines “good value” as spending $40 or less – excluding tax and gratuity – for two courses and a glass of wine or dessert

DOMODOMO
138 W. Houston Street
Type of Cuisine: Sushi

Ganso Ramen
25 Bond Street, Brooklyn
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Hide-Chan Ramen
248 E. 52nd Street
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Hino Maru Ramen
33-18 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, Queens
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Jin Ramen
3183 Broadway
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

Jin Ramen

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 First Avenue
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Momokawa
157 E. 28th Street
Type of Cuisine: Izakaya

Michelin Guide, NYC, Japan, Japanese restaurants, Bib Gourmand, sushi, yakitori, ramen, kappo, shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, izakaya

Lunch at Momokawa

Mu Ramen
12-09 Jackson Avenue, Queens
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Shalom Japan
310 S. 4th Street, Brooklyn
Type of Cuisine: “Authentically inauthentic Jewish and Japanese food”

Soba-ya
229 E. 9th Street
Type of Cuisine: Japanese Soba Noodles

For a complete list of all New York restaurants that earned stars – not just the Japanese ones – please visit Michelin’s website.