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Washington DC adds two more Michelin starred restaurants

[NEW YORK] Apparently, no restaurant in Washington is worthy of three Michelin stars.

Just two new spots made the the 2018 version of the vaunted guidebook, in its second iteration this year. Both new entries appear in the category of one star ("a very good restaurant").

One is the French-accented M├ętier, with US$200-per-person tasting menus from French Laundry alum Eric Ziebold; the second is the ambitious Greek spot Komi, whose tasting menu is US$150 and whose clientele includes former President Barack Obama.

That brings the total of Michelin-starred restaurants in the US capital to 14. Three are two-stars ("excellent cooking; worth a detour"), exactly the same as last year's listing. (In the world of Michelin, change is slow to come).

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This seems a stingy number for a city whose dining scene has been palpably on the rise for the past few years. In 2016, Bon Appetit named it "Restaurant City of the Year," noting the proliferation of such exceptional new places as Mediterranean spot Tail Up Goat and the Dabney, which celebrates the food and drink of the Mid-Atlantic region.

And then there's Bad Saint, the dynamic Filipino restaurant that has caused a sensation, with hours-long lines. Bad Saint made Michelin's Bib Gourmand list but not the more prestigious one with stars. The much-lauded Indian restaurant Rasika didn't make the list, period.

"Rasika is a fantastic Indian restaurant," says Michael Ellis, the international director of the Michelin Guide.

"But we have inspectors who evaluated Indian restaurants in London and New York and around the world, to make sure it's on the same level as other Michelin-starred restaurants. We understand there might be some disappointment."

So, did Bad Saint not make the list because, at 24 seats, it's too small - or with a no-reservations policy, it's too casual? No, says Mr Ellis: "Look, we awarded a hawker stand in Singapore a Michelin star," he said. 

"Its all about the food. We have our methodology, and we stick to our guns."

One of this year's winners, Fabio Trabocchi, chef/owner of Fiola, which garnered a star for the second year, appreciates Michelin's impact on Washington, DC.

"Michelin bumps up our business," he says.

"It creates a buzz, which you need when you've been open seven years. It's good for our regulars, it's good for bringing in new customers."

Still, Mr Trabocchi says, "our city needs a three-star restaurant."

He adds that he's focussed on getting Fiola another star. Or two.

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