When we hear the term "Michelin-starred restaurant," we think super soignée, aka over the top elegance where tiny portions of food are plated using tweezers with the utmost care, and where black tuxedoed staff cater to your every need.
In short: expensive, relatively pretentious, but definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity unless you have a million dollars.
Luckily for us peasants who can't afford to put one month's rent towards a Michelin-starred meal, the world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant is coming to New York City.
According to the Village Voice, Hong Kong based chef and restauranteur Mak Kwai Pui is bringing his michelin starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan, to NYC.
As far as Michelin-starred restaurants go, Tim Ho Wan is a far cry in terms of the norm. While most Michelin-starred restaurants require reservations months in advance, Tim Ho Wan typically sees lines out the door and into the street.
Similarly, you most likely won't find paper placemat menus, napkins on boxes atop the table, no wine list (or liquor license for that matter), but you will at Tim Ho Wan.
Essentially, Mak Kwai Pui focuses on the highest quality foods due to an understanding of the local menu. Since earning his first star, Mak Kwai Pui hasn't altered his service or his food too much.
"I don't think about money," Mak told The Village Voice. "But maybe the investors think about money."
So why is Tim Ho Wan worthy of a Michelin star? The food is simply phenomenal.
When he began, Tim Ho Wan sought out to "feed locals at bargain prices," serving prawn dumplings, baked buns filled with barbecue pork, and other specialities of the areas for prices under $5.
His dim sum dynasty has already spread from Hong Kong to Melbourne, with plans in the works to open in Thailand, South Korea, and Hawaii, though NYC will be the first American outpost to open.
How has Mak Kwai Pui created several successful dim sum restaurants that continue to garner worldwide recognition?
He focuses on chefs that already know the markets and tweaks his international shops to cater to specific customs and appetites. For example, the NYC location will have a liquor license, so you'll be able to sip on a martini as you down some dim sum.
Regardless, we're down for some dim sum whenever Tim Ho Wan makes its way to the former Spice space in the East Village this September.
Check out Chick-fil-a Is Trying to Take Over NYC with 12 Restaurants Planned by 2017.[via The Village Voice] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]