NEW YORK: New York has been usurped as America's premiere gastronomic destination, at least in terms of the Michelin Guide's celebrated three-star ranking.
The Guide's 2018 edition saw celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten suffer the indignity of being downgraded from three to two stars, leaving the US cultural and financial capital with just five three-star restaurants.
And San Francisco? It has seven.
Seventy-two New York restaurants were awarded stars by the celebrated culinary guide, down from 77 in 2016. Michelin said several previously ranked restaurants had been dropped from the list because they had since closed.
But most notable was the loss of three-star status for Vongerichten's flagship Jean-Georges, one of the most glittering restaurants in New York and situated in the Trump International Hotel and Tower overlooking Central Park.
It was at Jean-Georges that then president-elect Donald Trump dined on November 30, 2016 with Republican grandee Mitt Romney, whom he was then considering but quickly afterward passed over as a possible US secretary of state.
After eating in full glare of other diners, Trump let Romney walk out alone after the meal to heap praise on the incoming president before the cameras, offering remarks that contrasted sharply with his criticism on the campaign trail.
Jean-Georges, which opened in 1997 to critical acclaim and has long been the jewel in the French-born chef's empire, is now one of 11 New York restaurants with two stars.
Instead of the three-star ranking, which Michelin characterizes as "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey," its downgraded status is classified as "excellent cooking, worth a detour."
The restaurant's prix fixe dinner starts at $148 a head.
San Francisco now has the most number of three Michelin-starred restaurants in any US city. Chicago has two three-starred restaurants. Washington has none.
New York is home to 56 one-starred restaurants. Six new restaurants joined the star selections, three of which feature Japanese cuisine, the guide said.
While dwarfed by the population of New York, San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the country, hugely popular with tourists, famed for its Golden Gate Bridge and which in the 1990s became the hub of the dot-com bubble.