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Acadia Jumps To 2 Michelin Stars; Parachute And Dusek's Join List

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 27, 2015 9:00PM

The dining room at Acadia (Photo by Anthony Tahlier)

Well, it turns out that the accidentally-leaked list from this morning was authentic, and has been confirmed by many major outlets. This year, Chicago garnered a total of 29 stars, down from 31 last year. But, as always, we have thoughts. Plenty of thoughts.

First, and most notably, Acadia jumped from one star to two. Since they opened, they've been constantly striving for more, and word on the street was that they were aiming for national attention and another star for at least a year. They switched to a fancy tasting menu format, and it is commonly believed that tasting menus do better at garnering higher star ratings (all of the Chicago two and three star spots offer long, drawn-out tasting menus). Will it bring them more business? Who knows.

The newcomers to this year's list include Parachute and Dusek's Board & Bar. Parachute is not entirely a surprise, as it's made every best-of list in the universe, but I was happily startled that Michelin didn't consider their lack of formal service to be a problem. With Schwa and Longman & Eagle on the list, formality clearly doesn't dominate the competition, but Parachute's informal, ply-wood draped vibe might have turned off the inspectors. Thank goodness it didn't.

Dusek's, on the other hand, was a total surprise, at least until the Bib Gourmands came out. They were dropped from the list, though they haven't gone down in quality or up in price, which is a pretty big signal that they were star-bound. I've always been a huge fan of Dusek's (though I'm sometime in the minority) and I hope the star power doesn't make it impossible for me to get in.

Time to play Monday morning quarterback: What was missing? Well, it's still weird that Avec can't get off the Bib list, and the total absence of Vera is completely and utterly puzzling. Enough ink has been spilled about why Next isn't on the list, so not worth whining about it. MK has put a ton of energy into re-doing their space and menu over the last few years, so I had thought they might be up to the challenge, but apparently Michelin disagreed with me. If I were a Michelin inspector, I would probably have put Publican or Nico Osteria on from the One Off Hospitality cannon, rather than perennial fancy favorite blackbird (which has been slipping the last few times I visited). I honestly expected Momotaro to get a nod, but it got neither a bib nor a star.

At the end of the day, it's just one ranking. Chicago is still a sad American cousin to the European-focused guide. Belgium and Luxembourg (which, combined, have about 12 million people) apparently get more than 150 stars in this year's guide. How's that for perspective?