Not so long ago, many restaurants were all about meal deals. More recently, the pricing conversation turned to the higher cost of ingredients and how to offset it, a conversation that’s taken a few twists and turns as restaurateurs decide whether they can raise prices without turning off regular patrons.
Then, there are the fine-dining establishments where patrons go knowing they will plunk down a few hundred dollars for a perfect meal from Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and a handful of other chefs whose well-earned reputation precedes them.
And then there are a few establishments that, well, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.
A couple of recent stories highlighted some of the world’s priciest meals, including a $600 steak, a $1,000 pizza and even a $3,000 seafood curry.
The interesting trend among many higher-priced dishes is that they’re a spiffed-up version of common items, made more expensive with the addition of fancy ingredients such as caviar, truffles, quail eggs and candied Parisian fruit.
Dishpal’s blog posted an infographic featuring 10 of the priciest restaurant meals, including a $69 “haute dog” made with foie gras, black truffles and white-truffle oil at Serendipity 3 in New York City and a $12,000 Louis XIII pizza from chef Renato Viola in Italy, which is topped with lobster, caviar, pink Australian river salt and eight kinds of cheese.
In between, there is a $1,000 bagel at The Westin New York at Times Square, topped with white-truffle cream cheese, riesling jelly infused with goji berries and a 23-karat gold leaf.
Reading descriptions like that naturally make you wonder whether the flavor of the dish is as high as the novelty factor and whether your palate will thank you for spending so much on a nosh. CNN took a stab at answering that question with its look at “10 stupidly expensive restaurants.”
This list includes mini-reviews of eateries including Aragawa in Tokyo, where the average check for Kobe beefsteak is $400. The meal includes mustard on the side and the choice of a salad or scallop appetizer — and that’s it. In contrast to the no-frills steak dinner, a $300 seafood-tasting menu at Ithaa in the Maldives is served in an underwater dining room where patrons are surrounded by sea life.
While most of the eateries in the CNN article feature a high-priced menu, many uber-pricey dishes on other lists are gimmicks designed to draw in diners, most of whom are bound to opt for a less-pricey entree once they see the entire menu.
Are caviar-topped pizza and truffle-covered hot dogs a draw, or are they more likely to turn people off? Tell us in the comments.