é by Jose Andres | $168 Hike

Vegas likes when you win big on the first hand — because you’ll lose bigger on the second. Perhaps that explains why one of the largest price hikes of 2011 has taken place at é by Jose Andres, the eight-seat den of molecular mayhem in Sin City’s Cosmopolitan Hotel. Back in February, é charged $250 for a set menu of 18 courses. That simple, easy-to-understand price included wine pairings, tax and gratuity. Now, the same meal will cost about $334, a 34% hike. That translates into $668 for two, a de facto $168 hike from the old “couples price” of $500. To be fair, there’s a catch: You can also spend less. Observe: 

  • Dinner is now a set menu of $160. Wine pairings are no longer included or automatic — they cost $105. So that’s $265 so far. But it goes higher. 
  • Quoted prices no longer reflect tax & tip. So with pairings, 8.1% sales tax & optional 18% tip, the REAL COST of dinner comes to $668 for two. 
  • If you don’t drink, dinner for two can cost at low as $404 after tax & tip. 

So BUY, HOLD OR SELL? I’ll issue a HOLD because even though Jose Andres is one of America’s great chefs, and even though the concisely-named é is one of the best restaurants I reviewed this year, a $168 hike for two is a hefty upcharge after a few months. It’s nice that the pairings are now optional, but I’d strongly recommend them for a meal with 18 very diverse courses. 

There is an upside: e is a helluva lot easier to get into than Andres’ Minibar in Washington, which charges $150 per person before tax/tip/wine. SAAM in Los Angeles, the cheapest of Andres’ avant-garde counter concepts, costs $120 and reservations are not difficult. If you have the cash to burn and are in Sin City, send an email to reserve@ebyjoseandres.com. The place is LEGIT (P.S.: Hey Jose, how about a real website for your restaurant?). 


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