After the release of the US Michelin guides this year, I have noticed a massive discrepancy of Michelin star standards between San Francisco + Chicago and New York.
I personally have been to a number of the starred establishments in all three cities and find that the standards in SF and Chicago are much higher than those in NYC. Currently NYC has the same number as 3 stars (6) and 2 stars (9) as both SF and Chicago combined and more one stars than both combined (58 vs 19+30)
NYC's ratings are much more capricious and random-seeming than SF, with 17 new one stars just this year. In SF and Chicago combined, there were three newly starred places. (17 vs 3) As a matter of fact, NYC has had 26 new stars in the least 2 years compared to 3 in SF. And I have noticed that most of these new venue's aren't very good, like Zaab Elee (terrible, I know it's not in Manhattan but boggles my mind how it got a star) and ZZ's Clam Bar (is it even a restaurant?)
The two star level is even more egregious, with restaurants like Aquavit, Jungsik, Soto, and Marea (crazy!). These are decent restaurants, but compared to some of the two stars in SF (Manresa, Coi, Atelier Crenn, Quince, all of them basically ), they are barely one-star. Two stars should be awarded to exceptional, mind-blowing cuisine, not to good, well-presented food at exorbitant prices. Every single one of the two stars in SF and chicago blow the ones in NYC out of the water. Three stars across the board are all fantastic, I'll admit that.
Comaprison of two stars: (1 Terrible 2 Very Poor 3 Poor 4 Fair 5 Good 6 Very good 7 Great 8 Excellent 9 Exceptional 10 Fantastic, Perfect)
Manresa (my rating: 9/10)
Atelier Crenn (8.5/10)
42 Grams (not visited)
Ichimura (not visited)
Momofuko Ko (7/10)
(I know this may be biased but over this many restaurants there has got to be some pattern)
Some more clear examples/notes of the discrepancies:
Hakkassan NYC has a star, not Hakkassan SF (even though exact same menu and even the NYC chef moved to SF)
SF and Chicago combined have a total of 3-4 starred asian restaurants, while NYC has around 15-20. Is asian food in SF & Chicago that bad?. (some of the best thai and chinese ive had were in sf, yet no stars for Thai and Chinese in sf, while a number of lackluster rests in NY get stars)
Chiacgo is known for steaks yet it has 0 starred steakhouses compared to 4 in NYC.
These plain facts need to be brought to the attention of the Michelin guide.
(also btw I'm not new to chow, this is just a new account)