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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The place is LEGIT (P.S.: Hey Jose, how about a real website for your restaurant?).