Here’s an interview with Daniel Humm, the chef at Eleven Madison Park, which holds three Michelin stars. Sometime after Labor Day, dinner at the ambitious Manhattan eatery will start at $502 for two after tax and 20% tip. Yes, it’s is one of America’s best restaurants; I awarded four stars in my review for Bloomberg News.
But Eleven Madison is also one of New York’s most expensive restaurants. And this interview doesn’t mention a single price. If we as business journalists fail to mention the costs associated with the luxurious culinary establishments we write about, we’re doing a fundamental disservice to our readers, who rely on us to tell them whether they afford, and how much they’ll spend, at the restaurants we highlight. This holds true no matter how plentiful or scare the disposable income of our readers might be.
How can we have a conversation about fine dining if we can’t even mention the cost to the consumer?
ALSO: Cesar Ramirez is mentioned in the article as part of the “casual trend.” Let the record state Mr. Ramirez runs a single restaurant, Brooklyn Fare, that charges $225 per person. Dinner for two, after wine, tax and 20% service charge, will easily approach $900. Sure, Brooklyn Fare has no tablecloths, but there are also no cell phones or photography permitted in the dining room. Stemware is thin-lipped and tableware is immaculate. When Mr. Ramirez speaks to his guests, everyone hushes.
Brooklyn Fare may not be fine-dining in the traditional format, but it is without a doubt the farthest thing from casual that I can imagine.