Though chefs pretend not to care, the arrival of Michelin’s little red book each year is a Big Deal. It’s closely guarded critics rank Bay Area restaurants each year, doling out stars to the cream of the crop. And though there’s always plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacking among fooderati, a Michelin nod can mean serious cred for a kitchen. Losing a star can empty a restaurant faster than a mouse turd in the vichyssoise, and chefs have even been known to take it a little too seriously.
While toques sweat it out for the official announcements (scheduled for Oct. 26, 2010), the guide has pre-released it’s Bib Gourmand winners — tasty hidden gems where the price is right. (Officially, “the restaurant is an inspector’s favorite for good value. For $40 or less, you can enjoy two courses and a glass of wine or dessert (not including tax and gratuity)”.)
Winners were feted by Michelin staff tagging their sidewalks with a happy Michelin man (in chalk) — see photos.
Congrats to the following Sonoma and Napa winners:
- Bistro 29 (NEW), Santa Rosa
- Cucina Paradiso, Petaluma
- K&L Bistro, Sebastopol
- Monti’s Rotisserie, Santa Rosa
- Risibisi, Petaluma
- Santi, Santa Rosa
- girl and the fig
- Willi’s Wine Bar
- Bistro Jeanty
- C Casa
- Cook St. Helena
Gone from last year’s Bib Gourmand lineup: Angele, Cena Luna (closed), Mirepoix (which has significantly changed their menu to reflect a more upscale experience since the opening of Bistro M), and Zazu.