NYC’s Aska Earns Two Michelin Stars, No Changes at the Top

Nov 16, 2016

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The only real drama about the 2017 New York City Michelin Guide is that the winners were revealed two days early when it mysteriously appeared on sale yesterday in a Manhattan bookstore before the announcements — scheduled for Thursday afternoon — were officially made.

There were no changes at the top, as the same six restaurants awarded the treasured three stars — Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Jean-Georges, Le Bernardin, Masa and Per Se — remain alone on their culinary Olympus for the sixth straight year. The prestigious two-star list stays at 10, with one restaurant, Ichimura at Brushstroke, on the move, falling off as another leapfrogged on.

However, that leap provided the one morsel of table-side conversation which local foodies were left to chew on. The surprise was that the newly reopened Aska in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn went directly to two stars without first garnering a single star, as is normally the custom. Yet, even that wasn’t too much of a surprise, as Swedish Chef Fredrik Berselius had won a single star in the restaurant’s previous iteration under the same name at another venue.

Berselius’ cuisine — a tasting menu of about a dozen courses — falls into the “New Nordic” category, with ingredients gleaned from unusual, sometimes grim-sounding sources. New York Times critic Pete Wells, in reviewing the old Aska — the name translates to”ashes” by the way — once commented on the pig’s blood crackers as tasting like a wound healing. While giving the restaurant two of four Times’ stars, Wells characterized the menu as having “odd, sometimes poetic compositions.” The new Aska also has a cellar bar and garden with more casual fare, but access to the 24-seat restaurant itself is available by reservation only.

Others repeating at two stars include Aquavit, Atera, Blanca, Daniel, Jungsik, Momofuku Ko, Marea, The Modern and Soto.

The one-star list is now at 61, with 12 new restaurants — Agern, Contra, Faro, Gunter Seeger NY, Kanoyama, L’Appart, La Sirena, Nix, Sushi Ginza Onodera, Sushi Inoue, Sushi Zo and Ushiwakamaru — gaining their first stars.

In the Michelin galaxy, one star equals “a very good restaurant in its category,” two stars equate to “excellent cuisine, worth a tour,” while the lofty three stars denote “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

TheNYC Michelin Guide is officially on sale this week and completes the journey of 2017 American destinations, following Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago.

Where are your favorite places to eat in New York City? Tell us about them below.

Featured image of Aska courtesy of Nick Solares.

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