There have been New Yorkers who have tried to eat at every Michelin-starred restaurant in the city, but none of them has ever tried to do as many in a day as Eric Finkelstein.
This intrepid diner (and healthcare IT consultant by day) recently set a new Guinness World Record for eating at the most Michelin-starred establishments in one day, Food & Wine reported this week. On October 26, he hit up 18 different spots, enjoying a quick meal at all of them. In total, he spent 11 hours and $494 on his quest (not including tax or the 30 percent tip he left at each restaurant).
Finkelstein first started thinking about the gastronomic journey after he joined a food-related group on Discord. “I loved the idea,” he told Guinness. “It combined my loves of eating interesting food, working towards a checklist, and working toward something silly.” But the endeavor took quite a bit of advanced planning.
First, Finkelstein reached out to more than 80 Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, trying to secure a coveted table at each. He only heard back from 10, and by the time he had reservations, four of them had already lost their Michelin stars. So Finkelstein had to start the rigamarole all over again. Eventually, he came up with his 18-stop list, with four Michelin two-star restaurants and 14 one-stars.
To begin his journey, Finkelstein dined at Le Pavillon, where he had a grilled avocado salad with einkorn berries, charred kale and yogurt green goddess dressing. Next came the crème de la crème of NYC’s dining scene: Aquavit, Bâtard, Casa Mono, Caviar Russe, Cote, Francie, Gramercy Tavern, Jungsik, Le Coucou, Momofuku Ko, the Modern, the Musket Room, Oiji Mi, Red Paper Clip, Tuome and Vestry. For dessert, Finkelstein wrapped up with chawanmushi with uni and caviar from Noda. (His three favorite dishes were Casa Mono’s fluke crudo, Francie’s duck mortadella and Red Paper Clip’s everything brioche.)
In order to fit in all his gustatory delights, Finkelstein kept it light at every restaurant, notably only indulging in a bowl of lingonberries at Aquavit. He knows this isn’t how you’re supposed to enjoy the food, but anything goes in the name of world-record chasing. “Turning Michelin-starred restaurants into fast food, you’re kind of going against the spirit of what they’re doing,” he told the New York Post at the time of his mission.
Michelin-starred dining at a McDonald’s pace? It’s not ideal, but Finkelstein shows us that it is possible.