Stephen Starr likens running restaurants to producing theater, where everything from the staff-and-guest rapport to the background music and lighting must be perfect. “Attention to detail is the most important tenet of customer service,” he told Forbes. “If I go out and notice one mistake, the dish is off or executed poorly, one paint chip, one piece of trash on the floor … that’s it. The dish is off the menu, the staff training is revamped, the paint is fixed. There will be action,” he said.

That attention to detail has led to several blockbusters. One of the latest—Le Coucou, a French restaurant that launched in June—was named New York’s top restaurant of 2016 by New York Times critic Pete Wells. 

Concepts: Alma de Cuba, Barclay Prime, Buddakan, Butcher and Singer, El Rey, El Vez, Fette Sau, Frankford Hall, Jones, Le Coucou, Le Diplomate, Le Zoo, Makoto, Morimoto, Parc, Pizzeria Stella, Pod, Serpico, Steak 954, Talula’s Garden, The Clocktower, The Continental, The Continental Mid-town, The Dandelion, Upland