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Michelin stars shine on two Canadian chefs in New York

Hugue Dufour at his New York restaurant.

Adam Gollner/The Globe and Mail

Michelin does not review restaurants in Canada, but two Canadian chefs plying their trade in New York have just been awarded stars by the famous culinary guide.

Michelin's 2015 New York guide, which goes on sale Wednesday, awarded 17 new restaurants a one-star rating, including Luksus, recently opened by Halifax-raised chef Dan Burns, and M. Wells Steakhouse, the latest project by the Montreal expatriate chef Hugue Dufour.

The two Canadian newcomers are part of an trend in which great New York restaurants are appearing in boroughs beyond the reaches of Manhattan.

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Michelin noted in announcing the new laureates that M. Wells Steakhouse, "with its distinct French-Canadian culinary influence," is located in Queens and that Luksus and its "Scandinavian-minded" cuisine is in Brooklyn.

The famous red-covered guide defines a one-star eatery as "a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard."

Luksus

With only 26 seats, Luksus, which opened this summer in the Greenpoint neighbourhood of Brooklyn, is the first restaurant run by Burns.

The Darthmouth, N.S.-born chef has worked in some of the world's most prestigious kitchens: Noma in Denmark, the Fat Duck in Britain and Momofuku Labs in New York.

Globe and Mail restaurant reviewer Chris Nuttall-Smith cited Luksus as one of the places to eat in New York.

"It was new-Nordic cooking (rye toasts; restrained seasoning; the same 10-pound, hand-thrown plates as at Noma) through a New York lens," he wrote.

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There is only a tasting menu and no wine but a beer sommelier offers suds-pairing option.

M. Wells Steakhouse

The steakhouse is the latest brainchild of Dufour and his wife, Sarah Obraitis, who also operate a daytime "dinette" at the MoMA PS1 arts centre in the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens.

Dufour is a veteran of Au Pied de Cochon, the Montreal restaurant known for hearty, unrestrained riffs on French-Canadian classics, such as poutine with foie gras.

The steakhouse is equally zany and excessive, and reviewers tend to allude to the Flintstones when talking about its portion sizes.

"There's definitely still some Pied in me," Dufour said in a Globe and Mail article last spring profiling Au Pied de Cochon alumni in New York.

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The article said of Dufour's restaurant that "it doesn't take long for visitors to realize this isn't a typical chophouse: Rather, it's a carnivore's phantasmagoria filtered through Dufour's subconscious."

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About the Author
National reporter

Tu Thanh Ha is based in Toronto and writes frequently about judicial, political and security issues. He spent 12 years as a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Montreal, reporting on Quebec politics, organized crime, terror suspects, space flights and native issues. More

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