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Batali given two stars out of blue

Published:  23 July, 2008

Mario Batali's new Del Posto restaurant has come from nowhere to gain two-star status in the 2007 Michelin guide to New York.

Batali has a prominent position among New York restaurateurs as the owner of Babbo and Lupa, and his reputation has been recently enhanced by the publication of Heat, an account of his kitchens by New York journalist Bill Buford. Both factors count in his favour, as Michelin inspectors are known to prefer known quantities, but this shouldn't guarantee two stars. In European guides, chefs have had to achieve one-star status before gaining a second.

Del Posto replaces David Bouley's Danube, demoted from two stars to one. Elsewhere, the city's top-rated restaurants held onto their stars. Jean Georges, the Vongerichten-owned diner, Le Bernadin from Eric Ripert and Thomas Keller's Per Se, all maintained three-star status. The Spotted Pig, a gastropub owned by British restaurateur Ken Friedman, also held onto its one star.

But Alain Ducasse's Essex House lost its entry because Ducasse plans to close the