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Michelin and Zagat Guides—The Cliff Notes Edition

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The 2009 Michelin and Zagat guides to New York City restaurants simultaneously hit newsstands yesterday. But you don't have to live in the city—or spend exorbitant prices—to experience the stellar food at the very top-ranked restaurants. Here, the F&W guide to trying their multi-star dishes at home. I encourage all readers to try a recipe from each chef and then rank or star them accordingly.

Jonathan Benno, Per Se—3 stars, Michelin; No. 1 food ranking, Zagat

White Gazpacho with Pickled Shrimp Benno prepares this classic Spanish soup with delectable marcona almonds and pickled shrimp, which adds sweet-tart flavor.

Grilled Game Hens with Four Herbs Benno coats game birds with an herby mixture of thyme, marjoram, parsley and rosemary before grilling them.

Summer Vegetable and Potato Salad with Anchovy Dressing This colorful salad of green and yellow beans and waxy potatoes is dressed with a deliciously tangy mixture of anchovies, poached garlic and olive oil.   

Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin—3 stars, Michelin; No. 2 food ranking, Zagat                                    

Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with Garlic-Herb Butter
These deeply flavorful shrimp have a pleasing light char.

Seared Cod with Spicy Mussel Aioli Ripert's simple, sophisticated dish relies on store-bought mayonnaise to enrich the sublime garlicky mussel sauce.

Bahian Seafood Stew with Coconut and Tomatoes In Bahia, where Ripert has vacationed, cooks prepare endless variations of this traditional stew; Ripert's version calls for shrimp and grouper.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean Georges—3 stars, Michelin; No. 4 food ranking, Zagat

Aromatic Yellow Curry Sauce
This complex-flavored curry is made with luxurious coconut milk, sweet spices and peanuts.

Pancetta-Wrapped Mushrooms These mushrooms make a terrific hors d'oeuvre or as an accompaniment to a beef or veal roast.

Asian-Spiced Short Ribs Vongerichten sprinkles the ribs with ground fennel before braising them in a blend of Syrah, Asian fish sauce and soy sauce.

Daniel Boulud, Daniel—2 stars, Michelin; No. 3 food ranking, Zagat

Gargantuan Gougères Almost twice the size of ordinary gougères, Boulud's version is a bit like crispy, cheesy, slightly spicy popovers.

Braised Chicken Legs with Green Olives In his book Braise, Boulud braises duck legs for several hours until they're meltingly tender and incredibly flavorful. A shortcut: Braising chicken in a liquid that combines onions, carrots, bacon and olives creates complex flavor relatively quickly.

Orecchiette Bolognese with Chestnuts Finishing bolognese with chestnuts adds a delicious and unexpected touch.


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