This short documentary will survey the custom of tipping and what it means for fair wage, discrimination, and women’s issues.
YOU GUYS let’s make this happen? A young filmmaker, Anna Savittieri, is gonna make a movie about one of our favorite topics, TIPPING. She’s set a goal of $1,550 and has raised $250 so far. She’s fixin’ to visit Boston, DC, New York and Chicago to interview service industry workers. Tipping is a BIG DEAL, as the hospitality industry is the second-largest private sector employer in the United States, providing work for more than 13 million people, many of whom earn the tipped minimum of just $2.13/hour.
This issue is particularly significant as restaurants like Sushi Yasuda have moved to abolish tipping, and as efforts to raise the tipped minimum have faltered. So we hope Savittieri raises her Kickstarter goal many times over and gives us some serious film making!
Chicken Breast. Mushrooms. Blood Pudding. Almonds. Looks like an abstract rendition of Continental drift, right? See South America separating from Africa? And guess what? Tastes really good. The iron and funk of the boudin noir make up for the brilliant neutrality of the bird. Part of Contra’s $55 five course menu. Rating: STRONG BUY. (Photographer: Ryan Sutton).
GOOD FOOD! GOOD PRICE! GOOD PHOTO BY OUR SISTER TUMBLR!
Iliana Regan has some serious tattoos, a Michelin star, and wicked future ahead of her. She is a real deal forager, serving up fried lichens, raccoon snausages, and the broth of freshly killed deer. And house made Cheerios. It’s all part of the loooong tasting at Elizabeth Restaurant on Chicago’s North Side. Expect 17-plus courses.
Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years. Three years, precisely.
“You go into Carbone, and the whole thing is so fake…I went for dinner and I was embarrassed to be there”
Says Sean MacPheron in an interview with The New York Times. He’s the guy behind Waverly Inn, which sells $55 truffled mac & cheese to celebrities. He’s also the guy who’s allowing Tao, a Buddha-themed restaurant that sells $88 Wagyu ribeye to tourists, to open underneath his Maritime Hotel.
So to be fair, the dude clearly knows a thing or two about fake.
Benu, a two Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant that’s famous for its faux-shark’s fin soup, has raised the price of dinner by $15 to $195. So a meal for two, after tax and tip, will now cost $502, or $888 after wine pairings — quite an auspicious number! All-in-all it’s a modest 8% hike. Also, Benu now no longer offers an a la carte menu.
The $195 prix-fixe is more or less in line with what other two-Michelin-starred restaurants in The Bay Area are charging for long tastings. Coi is $175; Atelier Crenn asks $180; Manresa is $185; Saison is $248. And $195 is also what Atera charges in New York, as does Blanca. Will Guidara and Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park used to ask $195, but recently HIKED its price to $225, which is what Benu would like to charge, as we’ll learn below.
Benu’s chef-owner Corey Lee was nice enough to chat with us about his new pricing, about his decision to go tasting menu-only, and the debate over tipping. Here’s our conversation, which took place over email on Thursday:
Even in New York, the land of $200 tasting menus, $150 wine-pairings and $20 cocktails, there’s something eyebrow-raising about Alder, an East Village pub hawking pigs-in-a-blanket for $13. You’re skeptical because they recall the pastry-wrapped franks your uncle buys for $10 at Wal-Mart so he can force them upon you on Thanksgiving. For that familial pleasure, you, the consumer, pay nothing. And the portion size is all-you-can-eat.
At Alder, you get six bites. Stack them from end-to-end and they won’t even equal the length of a Nathan’s foot long. And yet you’re paying $17 after tax and tip, about three times the price of a ballgame hot dog, which is already too much for a hot dog. More practically, you’re paying about 1,000 percent more than a $1.25 Gray’s Papaya Dog.
So mentally, you deal with all that. And then you try Alder’s $13 treats. And you smile. Because they’re the best pigs-in-a-blanket you’ve ever had, anywhere. And that’s why Alder is the subject of my 2.5 star Bloomberg News review today. Chefs Wylie Dufresne and Jon Bignelli are getting us to pay a few bucks more for elevated pub food, just as Alex Stupak gets us to pay more for refined Mexican fare, just as Danny Bowien gets us to pay more for take-out-style Chinese-American fare, and just as Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi get us to pay a HECK OF A LOT MORE for Italian-American fare.
I can’t stress how awesome and important this all is, because what’s happening at Alder and all those other venues makes our current culinary times such gosh darn exciting times. These chefs are taking so-called ethnic foods, or in the case of Dufresne and Bignelli, regional American snack foods, and they’re extricating these tradition and nostalgia-based cuisines from the burden of being cheap. What they’re doing, for lack of a better term, is the future of food. Rock on.
There you go folks. Empellon’s Alex Stupak is teaming up with Alinea’s Grant Achatz for a one-night-only twelve course dinner. The cost is $325, inclusive of food, drinks, taxes and service. We’ve attended Empellon’s Enrique Olvera & Jordan Kahn PUSH dinners in the past and they were pretty rad. We appreciate the all-inclusive REAL COST pricing, which makes all the math easier for the diner. Party of two? $650. Part of four? $1300. Only even numbers accepted for bookings (2,4,6). We’re calling this one a BUY.
Click through to submit a reservation request or call 212.367.0999.
Eleven Madison Park, sporting THREE MICHELIN STARS and ranked FIFTH on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, has hiked its menu price to $225, up from $195. That’s a 15% increase. So dinner for two, after wine pairings, tax and tip, will cost $954, up from $876.
Or put more simply, dinner for two with all the fixins is just shy of $1,000.
Eleven Madison is now New York’s fifth most expensive restaurant (or thereabouts), after Masa ($450), Per Se ($295 service included), Brooklyn Fare ($255) and Kurumazushi (~$250). Price Hike historians and students of Suttonomics will recall that Eleven Madison Park fixed its entry-level price at $195 last year when it dropped its shorter $125 menu option.
We’ve reached out to the EMP people about the increase. We’ll let y’all know when we hear back.
Japanese Sardines. One of the cheapest and most delicious items on the menu at ZZ’s Clam Bar, which I award three stars in my Bloomberg News column and slideshow this week. Notice how the blueberry puree on top evokes the fish’s bloodline. Very elegant. Cost: $18. Rating: STRONG BUY.
From our photogenic sister site, the obnoxiously-titled “Ryan Sutton is 3.0,” we offer you some PRICE HIKE pics. Enjoy.
The $56 Carpaccio. Tuna. Foie gras. Razor clams. Bone marrow. Boom. One of the fine offerings at ZZ’s Clam Bar, which I award three stars in my Bloomberg News review. Check out the slideshow too. All photos by me.
The good news is there’s also a $105 caviar and beef carpaccio at ZZ’s Clam Bar, which makes this foie gras and tuna treat seem cheap by comparison. Until you get the bill, that is. Dinner for two will easily run $400 after tax & tip.
“According to the Congressional Budget Office, nearly four million people would be removed from the food stamp program under the House bill. A Census Bureau report released on Tuesday found that the food stamp program had kept about four million people above the poverty level and had prevented millions more from sinking further into poverty.”
The House bill passed, cutting $40 billion from the food stamp program. President Obama has threatened to veto the measure. (Source: NYT).
tickets will be available tuesday, 9/24 at 10:00am. stay tuned for more information on momofuku long play.
"Travel tastings," where a high-profile chef serves his opus (in one form or another) in a kitchen away from home, are typically quite expensive. Why? Because airline travel isn’t free and neither is transporting ingredients (or finding new ones in a new city).
But this Coi dinner at Momofuku Ko isn’t much pricier than at Daniel Patteron’s flagship in San Francisco, where dinner for one, after tax and 18% service charge, will run you $222, or $368 after wine pairings. That makes Momofuku’s $285 price a 28% markup, while the $395 price is just a 7% markup. And considering that they throw in Patterson’s new cookbook, it’s really no markup at all. Not a bad deal if you live in NYC.
We’re calling this one a buy. Patterson serves a pretty rad style of vegetable-focused cuisine, the likes of which you can see in my Bloomberg Pursuits slideshow.
And shout out to Momofuku Ko for the European-style service-included and tax-included pricing. RESPECT.
Hooni Kim, chef at Manhattan’s Michelin-starred Danji and critically-acclaimed Hanjan, tweeted in August that guests should stop comparing his food to the (presumably) cheaper fare at Koreatown restaurants on 32nd Street. Kim’s tweets piqued our interest because his prices are modest; almost every dish at both of his restaurants is under $20. So last week, we asked Kim if he could do an email Q&A to find out what the fuss was about.
Here’s our conversation:
How often do guests complain about your prices?Most of my negative (3 or less stars) Yelp reviews are about the prices and portions. The complaints directed at me from customers is why at similar prices the portions in Koreatown are twice as large. Why we charge for rice. Why we don’t serve banchan for free as they do in k-town. Basically why we charge more to serve the same Korean food as k-town. My answer is usually the same that we serve better ingredients which cost more so we need to charge more.
The three-year old Journeyman in Somerville is scrapping its prix-fixe-only model for a tasting menu-only service with no menu, Eater Boston reports. Pricing used to be $65 for five-courses or $85 for seven-courses. Now you get 9-12 dishes for $75, a de facto PRICE HIKE for those who used to order the cheaper menu. The new format will be VEGETABLE-FOCUSED, Boston Magazine writes.
The Somerville spot will continue to offer a $40 menu three nights a week during the off-hours. Click through for the deets.