In the five years since Michelin announced plans to launch a New York restaurant guide, the city's chefs and restaurateurs have gone from asking "why?" to actively working to win more stars from the rating service, whose favorable opinions now matter as much as a rave from Zagat. The competing guides tend to appeal to different demographics, says Corton owner Drew Nieporent, with locals opting for Zagat and world travelers more often toting Michelin guides.

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