BLACK TRUFFLES are back on the menu at Per Se thanks to the Australian winter crop that’s starting to come in! The price is $125 per serving, the same as last year but up from $100 back in 2012! Click through to find out precisely how much you’ll spend on all the supplements at Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred restaurant! (Photo: Ryan Sutton/Eater).

BLACK TRUFFLES are back on the menu at Per Se thanks to the Australian winter crop that’s starting to come in! The price is $125 per serving, the same as last year but up from $100 back in 2012! Click through to find out precisely how much you’ll spend on all the supplements at Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred restaurant! (Photo: Ryan Sutton/Eater).

"I do not fault any business for any corkage fee they choose to charge - $50, $100 or $1,000. What would we say if a customer walked into Luger’s, brought in a great cut of rib eye with asparagus, olive oil, sea salt & pepper, passed it to the host and said "Medium please. Don’t worry, I will buy some drinks. Table for two!" — James Mallios, owner of Amalia. 
That’s one of the many fine comments reacting to my Eater piece about how Per Se has increased its corkage fee to $150 per bottle. Check it out.

"I do not fault any business for any corkage fee they choose to charge - $50, $100 or $1,000. What would we say if a customer walked into Luger’s, brought in a great cut of rib eye with asparagus, olive oil, sea salt & pepper, passed it to the host and said "Medium please. Don’t worry, I will buy some drinks. Table for two!" — James Mallios, owner of Amalia. 

That’s one of the many fine comments reacting to my Eater piece about how Per Se has increased its corkage fee to $150 per bottle. Check it out.

Thomas Keller’s Per Se ($310) and The French Laundry ($295), two of America’s most expensive restaurants, are now commanding what are surely America’s highest corkage fees, at $150 per bottle, as I reported this afternoon for EATER. That’s OODLES more than what most other high end restaurants charge; Joel Robuchon in Vegas levies a $100 fee, while Masa in New York asks $95.
Are such policies necessary to sell wine and maintain a restaurant’s profit margins? Do they hurt consumers who are looking to enjoy their own wines in a restaurant? Should guests even be able to enjoy their own wine in a restaurant? We don’t bring our own fish into Le Bernardin, after all, so why should it be appalling that Le Bernardin doesn’t allow outside wines? Whatever your position, please do state it in the comments!

Thomas Keller’s Per Se ($310) and The French Laundry ($295), two of America’s most expensive restaurants, are now commanding what are surely America’s highest corkage fees, at $150 per bottle, as I reported this afternoon for EATER. That’s OODLES more than what most other high end restaurants charge; Joel Robuchon in Vegas levies a $100 fee, while Masa in New York asks $95.

Are such policies necessary to sell wine and maintain a restaurant’s profit margins? Do they hurt consumers who are looking to enjoy their own wines in a restaurant? Should guests even be able to enjoy their own wine in a restaurant? We don’t bring our own fish into Le Bernardin, after all, so why should it be appalling that Le Bernardin doesn’t allow outside wines? Whatever your position, please do state it in the comments!

Brooklyn Fare Overtakes Per Se as NYC’s Second Spendiest Eatery by Entry-Level Cost.

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The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare has overtaken Per Se as New York’s second most expensive restaurant, after Masa, as determined by entry-level cost at dinner. 

Brooklyn Fare now charges $255 for its 20-30 course menu, up $30 from its previous price of $225. Dinner for two at The Chef’s Table, after tax and 20% service charge, will now run you $657, a 13% hike from $580, which is what dinner for two used to cost. Date night at Per Se, by contrast, is a few dollars less at $642 after tax (the menu is listed at $295, service included). 

Keep in mind that Per Se charges supplements for truffles ($125-$175), foie gras ($40), kobe beef ($50-$100), blue lobster (MP), and luxury caviar courses ($75), which can push a Per Se dinner to over $500 per person before wine. Brooklyn Fare does not extra charge for luxury ingredients. 

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Per Se & French Laundry Hike Truffle Prices

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It’s Australian Black Truffle Season! That’s because it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere (MIND-BLOWING, RIGHT?). As such, we get to enjoy the bounty of winter truffles during our Northern Hemisphere summer. But will prices rise in 2013.

Last year, Thomas Keller priced Australian black truffles as a $75 supplement at The French Laundry, and as a $100 supplement at Per Se. This year, the cost appears to have risen by $25, which pricing at $100 at The Laundry and $125 at Per Se, as per two recent menus. We contacted The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group via phone & email during business hours yesterday, to inquire about why prices are higher in 2013; we haven’t received a response.

So what say you world? Are Chef Keller’s new truffle prices a BUY HOLD OR SELL?

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Price Tweaking: Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred Per Se, New York’s second most expensive restaurant after Masa, has increased the price of its most affordable lunch menu to $195, up $10. Service is included. That means a midday meal for two, after tax, will now start at $425, up from $403. All things considered not a heck of a big difference. 
Is the new price point a BUY HOLD OR SELL? Your call, but if you’re going to Per Se, might as well do the $295 option. If we look at this from a psychological perspective, you’re now saving LESS MONEY by ordering the cheapest menu, thereby making the priciest option a slightly better deal from a relative value standpoint (i.e. the $295 tasting isn’t THAT much more expensive). 
We’re cool with that. 

Price Tweaking: Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred Per Se, New York’s second most expensive restaurant after Masa, has increased the price of its most affordable lunch menu to $195, up $10. Service is included. That means a midday meal for two, after tax, will now start at $425, up from $403. All things considered not a heck of a big difference. 

Is the new price point a BUY HOLD OR SELL? Your call, but if you’re going to Per Se, might as well do the $295 option. If we look at this from a psychological perspective, you’re now saving LESS MONEY by ordering the cheapest menu, thereby making the priciest option a slightly better deal from a relative value standpoint (i.e. the $295 tasting isn’t THAT much more expensive). 

We’re cool with that. 

Price Tweaking: Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin starred Per Se, New York’s second most expensive restaurant, has introduced a new price point at lunch: $235 for seven-courses, service included. That comes to $512 for two after tax. In an equally intriguing development, all the lunch menus now draw from the same chef’s tasting menu. Previously, the $185 option was built around an entirely separate five-course menu, with items like “quail for two” and such. So is the new $235 menu a BUY HOLD OR SELL? Your call, people of earth!
Supplements, as always, are extra. The current menu lists foie gras at $40, tsar imperial caviar at $75, and Japanese Wagyu at $100. Oh, and in case you forgot, Masa, at $450 per person before wine, tax and tip, is still New York’s (and America’s) most expensive restaurant. 

Price Tweaking: Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin starred Per Se, New York’s second most expensive restaurant, has introduced a new price point at lunch: $235 for seven-courses, service included. That comes to $512 for two after tax. In an equally intriguing development, all the lunch menus now draw from the same chef’s tasting menu. Previously, the $185 option was built around an entirely separate five-course menu, with items like “quail for two” and such. So is the new $235 menu a BUY HOLD OR SELL? Your call, people of earth!

Supplements, as always, are extra. The current menu lists foie gras at $40, tsar imperial caviar at $75, and Japanese Wagyu at $100. Oh, and in case you forgot, Masa, at $450 per person before wine, tax and tip, is still New York’s (and America’s) most expensive restaurant. 

Here Are the Entry-Level Champagne Prices at New York’s Best Restaurants. And Gaonnuri.

  1. Gaonnuri: $165 (Veuve Clicquot)
  2. Gaonnuri: $160 (Moet Chandon)
  3. Per Se: $135 (Pol Roger)
  4. Brooklyn Fare: $115 (Maire-Noelle)*
  5. Craft: $105 (Saint-Chamant)
  6. Masa: $95 (La Caravelle)
  7. Marea: $93 (La Caravelle)
  8. Eleven Madison Park: $90 (Pierre Gimonnet)
  9. Del Posto: $90 (Doyard or La Caravelle)
  10. Daniel: $85 (Pierre Brigandat & Fils)
  11. Corton: $80 (Duc de Romet)

Easy question: Would you prefer to dine at Corton, one of New York’s most envelope-pushing French restaurants, and order an intruging bottle of Champagne, say, Duc de Romet for $80? Or would you rather go to Gaonnuri, the subject of my one-star Bloomberg News review, where the cheapest Champagne, a very un-intriguing bottle of Moet & Chandon, is $160? That’s a 300% markup over the $40 retail price at Astor Wines.* 

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Per Se’s $595 Valentine’s Day Menu

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Thomas Keller’s “service-included” Per Se hasn’t raised the price of its $295 menu in over two years, but diners can always spend a bit more with the tasting menu’s spendy supplements. So it goes that the three Michelin-starred  joint in Midtown Manhattan isn’t charging more on this Valentine’s Day, but diners can spend as much as $595 if they opt for the pricey caviar, foie gras, blue lobster and black truffle add-ons. So far, the priciest Per Se menu we’ve seen is the $685 extravaganza during white truffle season. This one comes close enough, though. 

So what say, you people of earth? BUY HOLD OR SELL? Personally, we’re pretty stoked about the “veal heart and dover sole.” The restaurant appears to be booked up tonight, but walk-ins can try the odd surf & turf in the lounge for $34. Boom. 

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Is Jean Georges Still NYC’s Cheapest Three Michelin Starred Joint? That Depends.

On the heels our report documenting a series of PRICE HIKES at Jean Georges & Le Bernardin, we thought we’d remind you of the current dinner prices at all of New York’s three-Michelin starred restaurants. The results below are ranked by the least expensive offering at each of the haute-establishments. 
  1. Masa: $450, $600 (the latter price includes a kobe/truffle course)
  2. Per Se: $295-$685 (depending on supplements, service included)
  3. Brooklyn Fare: $225
  4. Eleven Madison Park: $195
  5. Le Bernardin: $127 prix-fixe, $147 tasting, $194 chef’s tasting
  6. Jean Georges: $118 prix-fixe, $168 tasting
  7. Daniel: $108 prix-fixe, $195 six-courses, $220 eight-courses

One interesting note: While we were investigating the price increases at Jean Georges, a spokesperson for the restaurant mentioned that it’s “still the lowest priced three star Michelin and four star New York Times prix-fixe in NYC.” 

Is that an accurate statement?

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Is There an Epidemic of Tasting Menu-Only Restaurants? Not Necessarily.

  • Across the country, expensive tasting-menu-only restaurants are spreading like an epidemic…A high-end anomaly a few years ago, three- or four-hour menus now look like the future of fine dining.

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.

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Per Se’s $560 Blue Lobster & Wagyu Menu

Thomas Keller’s Per Se, whose 9-course tasting menu costs $295 before supplements, offered a few interesting options yesterday: Scottish blue lobster for $50 and American Wagyu for $100. This was in addition to the regular $75 caviar and $40 foie gras add-ons. Guests opting for all of the supplement would have spent $560 on food, or 90% more than the menu’s base price. This is the highest that we’ve seen Per Se’s menu go since last summer, when we documented a $610 menu

If both members in a party of two each ordered all the supplements, the bill would have started at $1,120 before sales tax and wine. 

Is Per Se’s $560 menu a BUY HOLD OR SELL? Your call, world. Meanwhile, check out the supplements. We’ve been keeping close track of Per Se’s offerings as part of The Price Hike’s Most Excellent Menu Contest, which emphasizes the role Tumblr can play in promoting price transparency. 

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Per Se Today | Smoked Foie Gras | 21 July 20124

Here are the optional supplements at Per Se today. There are no American Wagyu, Australian black truffle, or rare blue lobster add-ons. The menu, of course, remains at $295 per person. All prices include service. Click through for the full menu
  • Tsar Imperial Osetra Caviar: Cauliflower Panna Cotta, Umeboshi Pearls, Compressed Apple & Brioche Melba: $75 (or $125 in the Salon).
  • Hot Smoked Elevages Perigord Moulard Duck Foie Gras: Pearson Farm’s Peaches, Rolled Oats, Celery Branch Ribbons and Toasted Brioche: $40 (same price in the Salon for a slightly different preparation). 
  • Diners choosing both supplements will pay $410 before wine & tax. 
Of note in the a la carte Salon is the $40 Billi Bi preparation (Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster “Oyster Cracker,” Greenmarket Squash, Pearl Onions and Upland Cress). Traditionally, Billi Bi is a cream of mussel soup. 
  • FYI: On Monday, we’ll explain more about our new “Per Se Today” feature on Monday, which is part of our “Most Excellent" focus on how Tumblr can help restaurants better communicate daily-specials and prices. 

Here Are The Wine Lists for New York’s Three Michelin-Starred Restaurants. Minus Two.

Now that The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare has published its wine list, all but two of New York’s top Michelin-rated restaurants have their selection of vino available to peruse online. Le Bernardin and Jean Georges are the two holdouts. We’re hoping they’ll join the club soon, especially since wine can cost as much as (or more than) dinner at these excellent, high-end venues.

Think of it this way: If Le Bernardin’s $190 tasting menu is unlikely to be an “impulse purchase,” then a $190 bottle of bubbly at that restaurant is also unlikely to be an impromptu decision. High-end wine, like high-end food, is something you plan in advance. It requires thought. As such, here are the wine lists for New York’s three Michelin-starred restaurants. Minus two. 

  1. Per Se
  2. Masa
  3. Eleven Madison Park
  4. Daniel
  5. The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

See more Price Hike coverage of Brooklyn Fare’s wine list and corkage fees at New York City’s three Michelin-starred restaurants. Our check out my four-star review of Le Bernardin for Bloomberg News