By Richard Leong
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A small Brooklyn restaurant earned three Michelin stars in the 2012 dining guide, the highest rating, cementing the New York City borough as a culinary destination.
Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare's is the first Brooklyn restaurant to achieve the distinction. Along with Eleven Madison Park it joins five other New York eateries with the coveted three stars in the latest guide that was launched on Wednesday.
"Brooklyn has a tremendous dining scene with every category covered," said the editor-in-chief of the North American Michelin Guides, who declined to be identified because she is also an anonymous reviewer for the guide.
Chef's Table is unlike its fancier three-star counterparts. The 18-seat restaurant is part of a food market, where diners eat on a kitchen counter.
In this modest setting, Mexican-born chef Cesar Ramirez has won raves from critics. His prix-fixe dinner, costing about $165 a person, encompasses 18 to 20 small plate courses showcasing his innovative food.
"He (Ramirez) and his tiny team deliver a level of cuisine nightly that is at once perfectly elegant and entertainingly playful," the guide's head editor said.
In contrast to two-year-old Chef's Table rapid ascent, Eleven Madison Park's reputation has grown steadily since Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm became its executive chef in 2006.
Eleven Madison Park fits the mode of a traditional, three-star restaurant with its white linens, high ceilings and marble floors, but Michelin said it is a pioneer.
Michelin's other three-star eateries in New York include Daniel, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, Masa and Per Se.
"Only 93 restaurants in the world currently hold three stars. Of those, seven are in New York City," Michelin said in a statement announcing the results.
Two restaurants, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and SHO Shaun Hergatt joined the two-star tier, bringing the city's total of two-star eateries to nine.
L'Atelier inside the Four Seasons hotel is one of eight around the world overseen by master French chef Joel Robuchon.
SHO is located in the city's financial district, where Australian chef Shaun Hergatt serves Asian-inflected French dishes.
In the latest guide, Michelin awarded 46 New York establishments with one star.
The company will release the 2012 editions of its restaurant guides for San Francisco and Chicago in the coming weeks.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Patricia Reaney)