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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A tiny, casual 12-seat eatery in New York City has earned two Michelin stars, the second highest rating in the ranking of the world's best restaurants.
The restaurant, The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, is a stark contrast to the other two-star New York restaurants in Michelin's latest guide, which will be launched on Thursday.
It is located in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. Its head chef, Cesar Ramirez, oversees the prepared food store connected to the restaurant, and diners have to bring their own wine.
Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides, said it is the restaurant's innovative, global-inspired dishes that placed it among the best restaurants in the world.
"It's really a kitchen and the chef is cooking in front of you. When you sit down, you have a dream start with the first dish ... so it really becomes one of the 300 best restaurants in the world," Naret said.
Chef Table's concept is similar to one pioneered by another two-star eatery - Momofuku Ko owned by celebrity chef David Chang.
According to Michelin's ranking, a three-star restaurant offers exceptional cuisine, a two-star establishment has excellent cuisine and a one-star eatery is very good.
The pairing of fine food and casual setting in the United States is exemplified in most of the new entries that earned one star from Michelin.
Dovetail, The Breslin and Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen all serve their twists on familiar bistro/pub fares.
"People are looking more at small restaurants and intimate places," Naret explained
This trend has intensified even in the aftermath of the worst recession in 70 years. Michelin recommends 127 "under-$25" restaurants in its latest guide, up from 17 from last year.
Three restaurants moved up from one to two Michelin stars -- high-end Japanese eateries Kajitsu and Soto and Marea, which serves Mediterranean seafood.
Marea is jointly owned by Michael White, who is arguably the hottest chef in New York. His two other New York restaurants, Alto and Convivio, have also earned Michelin stars.
While casual dining is the trend, fine dining is still king in New York. French-inspired Daniel, Jean-Georges, Le Bernardin and Per Se and Japanese Masa remain the top of the heap with their three-star rankings.
Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Patricia Reaney