I haven’t spent enough time in Paris to sample Michelin recommended restaurants. When I lived in London, I didn’t have the income to go to Marco Pierre White’s Michelin-starred temple to gastronomy. Finally, my hard-earned graft has left me with a little bit of disposable income over mortgage and other expenses. And I am living near a city which was been noticed by the rotund Michelin Man. Living vicariously through the Dining section of the NYT, I always wondered whether the gripes I read about the Michelin Guide were justified.  Now I can finally weigh in as they have released their list of  Bib Gourmand restaurants for Chicago.

Bib Gourmand appears to mean restaurants where you can have two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.  What is not clear whether such restaurants can also qualify for the higher ranking of one to three stars.  I assume they cannot because that’s the only way I can rationalize what’s on the list: Frontera Grill, Lula Cafe on the same list as the pancake place, Anne Sather?!! La Creperie, gimme a break, is just crap.  My wife and I almost walked out of Veerasway it was so bad.

Part of the problem is that the gradation of categories is too coarse.  Just like the top B and the bottom B in an undergrad economics class, a lot of successes and sins are hidden in one lump. If this Chicago list is anything to go by, the Robert Parker 0-100 numerical approach to wine and the Zagat approach to restaurants may be better.