From Yoree Koh, Wall Street Journal: Tokyo is once again the brightest star in the culinary universe, according to the 2011 Michelin guide.
Japan’s capital was awarded more stars than any other city by the
tire company’s newly released restaurant guide, which includes outlying
cities Yokohama and Kamakura for the first time. The 2011 volume goes
on sale Nov. 27. Tokyo increased its envious roster of three-starred
restaurants to 14 – that’s three more than last year.
It was enough for Tokyo to edge out Japan’s gastronome-centered
cities to the west - Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto - as the reigning
restaurant city by the French publication for the fourth consecutive
year. The western part of Japan enjoyed the culinary crown for a brief
period when Michelin heaped three-star ratings onto a dozen restaurants in late October.
But Tokyo didn’t need the newly added Yokohama and Kamakura to
reclaim its title, unlike the Kansai area guide. No restaurants in the
two cities on the outskirts of Tokyo received three stars. Two
restaurants in Yokohama mustered two stars and 24 restaurants from the
two areas total received one star.
The four newcomers into the three-star circle, like the ones already
in the honored pack, mostly specialize in Japanese-styled cuisine:
sushi, traditional Japanese, tempura and blowfish, known as “fugu” in
Perhaps in a tip to trying economic times in Japan, this year’s guide
includes a new feature — a “bang for your buck” type image of a pile of
coins, indicating the restaurant offers a menu under 5,000 yen ($60).
But let’s not make this into a domestic kitchen competition. Japan would be proud to know that the number
of Michelin’s highest-rated restaurants in the Tokyo and Kansai areas
combined – 26 – officially ties the country with France as the crème de
la crème of where to eat.