Can any restaurant meal be worth as much as $800? $1700? How about a couple thousand? What about a Heimlich-demanding five figures? Laughing? So was I when I read Tonya Gold's A Goose in a Dress, her hilarious review of four absurdly expensive NYC restaurants in this month's Harper's Magazine.
But judging by some of the online comments it's plain to see that not everyone was amused. Sounds to me like an Emperor's New Wardrobe Malfunction but even my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson thought the review unfair.
Leson has hoisted fork at pricey rug joints from coast to coast. She ate the dish pictured above, a medallion of woodcock stuffed with liver, heart and truffle, garnished with gold at Next in Chicago. That dinner, which included wine and some other stuff came to $250 a person. "Totally worth it, she says. "Wretched excess" sez me.
She's also eaten at three of the four restaurants in Gold's review: Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, and Masa.
"Were they hugely expensive? They were. I was eating there on my own dime, not on some newspaper or magazine, Stein, and I really liked them a lot." Especially Masa, which she says was "For the longest time considered the top Japanese restaurant in the United States." I couldn't help quoting Gold's description of Masa's chef Masayoshi ("Masa") Takayama as "The Keyser Soze of squid." Nancy says she paid $500 for her meal there years ago. Gold says it's about $1700+ these days.
I don't think I've ever paid a restaurant check bigger than $150 – and that was dinner for two. Nance says it's all relative and that if I were wealthier, a couple thousand would seem like chicken chow. I get her point but even if my Tasmanian Manual Typewriter shares were to skyrocket tomorrow and make me as filthy rich as I deserve to be I'd never pay $1700 in any restaurant no matter how raw the fish was.
How about you?
"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." – F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Yes, they have more money" – Said to be Ernest Hemingway's reply