Eater SF: "It’s Not Your Imagination: Tasting Menus in San Francisco Are Getting Cheaper"

Misleading headline. It’s not that high-end places haven’t dropped prices on existing tasting menus; but that more are offering less-expensive alternatives, e.g. the regular Crenn tasting menu is $475, but Bar Crenn has six courses for $300 or five small bites for $125. Nothing new about that concept.

I’m going to hope that Seattle chefs see this piece. There are restaurants’ menus that sound SO good. But 10-12 courses is a deal breaker. What was that little one called? Now that sounds doable.

That is less about “more options” for the customer etc. - it just gives them the opportunity to have less courses (faster turnover of tables) for more money per course. The few times I have now seen these options it was, like at Sorrel, half of the courses but not for half of the price of the full tasting menu. And people are really complaining about 2.5-3 hours tasting menus as too long - I guess the attention spans are getting shorter and shorter in the US.
The other related trend which recently appeared that more and more restaurants clearly say at OpenTable, Resy that you only have a very limited time to dine at the restaurant (the lowest I have yet seen was 1:15 hours for a table of two) - at least of helps us to cut down the number if restaurants we have on our long list

It is more options. Less time, less food, usually less fancy (bar seating), lower price.

If you can buy 2 apples for $4 and now the same shop offers you 1 apple for $3 you have lower price but also lower value


So you actually like those three hour, 12 course meals…that cost $1000 for two with wine?

When you include service charge and sales tax, most of the three-star Michelin places in Northern California cost most of or more than $500 a head before wine. E.g. Benu is $375 + 20% service charge = $450 + 8.625% sales tax = $488.82. They don’t list the cost of the wine pairing but three years ago it was $210 before service charge and tax.

I’d rather do omakase at a first-rate sushi bar or go to Shibumi in LA.

And I’d rather get on a fucking airplane and go somewhere. Or buy some art or furniture. Whew. Thanks, Robert, for curing my naivete!

Yes, it is not something we do every week but it is often the best way to get the most creative food from a chef - it is also often a great way to ask chefs who don’t offer tasting menus normally to really do what they want culinary wise and let them just cook for you without any limitations from a regular menu which has to please too many people and is often the product of looking for a compromise and being restrained. It’s like asking a painter for commissioned worked vs. creative freedom

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You can look at a painting before you buy it.

Twenty canapes is usually performance art, not dinner.