May 16, 2021 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Michelin Pauses 2020 Guide for California Citing COVID-19, Wildfires

Restaurant guide says COVID-19 and wildfires forced decision

By Kerry Slater

The Michelin Guide has paused the announcement of Stars, Bib Gourmands and Plates from the 2020 California selection. In 2019, two Culver City-area restaurants garnered prestigious stars.

According to Michelin, the decision was determined after speaking with chefs and listening to feedback from restaurants severely impacted by COVID-19 and wildfires across California.

“We know the restaurant industry still faces enormous challenges in getting back on its feet,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides. “We are confident this will occur, as soon as health and safety protocols allow. Diners won’t lose their desire for great food; in fact, the importance of a shared meal has never been so present in our minds as it is at this time.”

This decision reverses an announcement made in August where Michelin stated that it would proceed with giving out Stars, Bib Gourmands and Plates based on information from critic visits that occurred before dining rooms to closed in mid-March due to COVID-19.

The guide functions off a rating system of one, two or three stars, with only the most prestigious of restaurants achieving the coveted three-star rating. The Michelin guide was first published in 1900 by the tire company as a way to get European travelers to drive and visit their local restaurants. It has turned into a well-known guide book with even a one-star rating being considered a huge accomplishment.

Even though LA restaurants didn’t make the coveted and rare 3- star ranking, 6 new restaurants were awarded 2- star rankings and 18 more were awarded 1-star rankings. Here’s a look at the Culver City-area restaurants who made the cut in 2019.

n/ naka
3455 Overland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Chef Niki Nakayama’s upscale kaiseki restaurant, which first opened its doors in 2011, is one of the most prominent of its kind in Southern California. Los Angeles Times critic, the late Jonathan Gold wrote that “the sheer level of cooking in this modest bungalow eclipses what you find in grand dining rooms whose chefs appear in national magazines.” Kaiseki is a more than just a cuisine; it’s an experience and the pinnacle of Japanese dining. In addition to Michelin’s 2- star rating, n/ naka also earned Zagat’s number one spot in Los Angeles.

Vespertine
3599 Hayden Avenue
Culvery City, CA 90232

Chef Jordan Kahn’s Verspertine is a 22- seat tasting menu restaurant that is a self- described “gastronomical experience seeking to disrupt the course of modern restaurant” according to its website. Located in Culver City’s Hayden Tract, the reservations only dining experience will set you back at least $250 per person for a (rumored) 18- course meal. Shrouded in mystery, the 2- star restaurant is one of those you- have- to- see- it- to- believe- it establishments complete with an original score and unique menu you won’t see anywhere else.

Michelin will instead host an online gathering of support for California restaurants through a “Virtual Family Meal” on Oct. 27, 2020, at 4 p.m. PST. Reserve virtual seats at guide.michelinman.com.

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