Stephanie Rosenbloom pens a fun little piece for the New York Times about how singles are charged more on cruise ships, as most accommodations are priced for double occupancy.
But here’s a different way of looking at things. If you’re taking your significant other on a cruise, it’s entirely likely that one of you is paying, and the other one isn’t, unless you want that to be your last cruise. Which means for couples the price is never $1,539 each, it’s really $3,078 for one of you. So perhaps Royal Caribbean could bill this as a single’s discount of $235. And can you really put a price on the peace of mind you get while being alone?
Jeff Gordiner of The New York Times today reports that Michael’s, a staple of midtown media power dining, is updating its menus with in vogue dishes like duck confit sliders, Korean fried chicken and — wait of it — SMALL PLATES. The changes come courtesy of chef Kyung Up Lim. But that’s not all folks. We at The Price Hike noticed that some of the prices have dropped by a few dollars or more.
The Caesar salad, once $16, is now $12. The Long Island duck breast, once $38, is now $25. And the burger, which was $35 this past autumn, is now $18. Will these lower prices attract larger crowds, especially during dinner, when the room can be significantly less than full? We’ll see. And is Michael’s a BUY HOLD OR SELL with thee news dishes and prices? Your call world. But let’s recall Frank Bruni’s zero-star review from 2008:
(second screenshot via New York Times)
Wells sees a bit of an epidemic in this trend. I argue that it’s just another wrinkle, and sometimes a positive wrinkle, in our increasingly diverse culinary world. Agree/Disagree? Let us know in the comments.
So writes New York Times food critic Pete Wells in his largely skeptical take on tasting menu-only restaurants, an odd, albeit interesting world where meals last over three hours, where bread courses are dictatorially delayed until mid-meal, and where dining rooms are filled by “big game hunters,” eager to spend a thousand dollars per couple for the privilege of feasting at a trophy establishment. Instagrams of the now-closed El Bulli must be the ultimate taxidermy, non?
Smart eaters will read the NYT piece in its entirety because it’s a fine lament on an expensive & idiosyncratic slice of modern gastronomy.
But what I focus on here at The Price Hike are prices, and it’s Mr. Wells’ statement about this “epidemic” of expensive tasting menus that piques my interest, as well as another one of his musings: “I can’t feel good about watching great restaurants that were already serving an elite audience taking themselves further out of reach.”
The NYT critic raises good questions. As much as I love American Omakase spots like Alinea, Blanca and Brooklyn Fare, committing the necessary financial resources toward a pricey tasting (or dealing with the subsequent gastro-intestinal distress) isn’t exactly my regular brand of bourbon.
The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells argues that the stories and “homilies” at the (weeks-old) Eleven Madison Park 3.0 is undermining the fine cooking of Daniel Humm.
We at The Price Hike believe that any dish with multiple components deserves a proper explanation, just as a nice painting has a little placard next to it, offering novice and advanced viewers alike with some much needed context. That said, no diner ever wants a didactic experience, at any price point.
Pete Wells contemplates the prices at Mission Chinese in his two-star New York Times review of the restaurant. A few weeks ago, in an interview with Chef Danny Bowien, we at The Price Hike also wondered out loud whether Mission was undercharging for its spicy fare. For further reading, consider checking out the Bloomberg News review of Mission Chinese by Ryan Sutton (that’s me!).