Michelin awards top rating to two Chicago eateries

Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:59pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A Chicago restaurant lauded for its cutting-edge cuisine and a nearby eatery known for its innovative seafood dishes earned the highest rating in the ranking of the world's best restaurants.

The two eateries Alinea and L20 received three stars in Michelin's first guide of Chicago restaurants, which was launched on Tuesday.

According to Michelin's ranking, a three-star restaurant offers exceptional cuisine, a two-star establishment has excellent food and a one-star eatery is very good.

Alinea and L20 are located within blocks of each other in neighborhoods near Lake Michigan. American chef Grant Achatz oversees his experimental creations at Alinea, while French native Laurent Gras had headed L20's kitchen before announcing he was leaving earlier this month.

"These chefs are very creative in their own special ways. They have provided consistent excellence to their customers every night," Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides, said in an interview.

L20's current 10-course luxury tasting menu, which features foie gras ravioli and wagyu beef, costs $245 a person. At Alinea a diner will pay $195 for a 21-course tasting menu which incorporates ingredients ranging from pheasant to bubble gum.

Michelin awarded two stars to contemporary restaurants Avenues, Charlie Trotter's and Ria.

It also handed out one-star ratings to 18 Chicago eateries, reflecting the city's diverse and vibrant dining scene.

"You have such creative energy with an avant-garde like Grant (Achatz) and you have great restaurants and very casual places with pizzas and hot dogs that deserved to be recognized," Naret said.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Patricia Reaney)