New York’s gourmet palaces keep raising their prices
New York’s food scene shows no signs of slowing in the pace of price increases as raging inflationary forces continue to drive up the cost of doing business. A $1,000 dinner for two, once quite rare, is now a reasonably ordinary affair at most of the city’s elite European and Japanese restaurants.
The cost of restaurant meals is of course rising across the city, amid soaring food prices and a tight labor market. But while everyday institutions like slice shops and tamale vendors have done their best to control price increases, some of Manhattan’s top foodie palates have more freedom to adjust prices more aggressively. and frequent, thanks to their well-heeled clienteles and their status as spots of madness.
Among those places that have been raising their prices lately are Eleven Madison Park, the vegan restaurant with Daniel Humm’s tasting menu; Le Bernardin, an advertised French seafood spot; and Shuko, historically one of New York’s most affordable omakase spots. Daniel Boulud’s Le Pavillon, a chic Gallic restaurant near Grand Central, and Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern have also increased their prices. Here are all the details:
Eleven Madison Park
Humm shook the culinary world when he announced last year that he would be eliminating virtually all animal products from his famous restaurant, once ranked best in the world by a controversial list. The dinner menu remained at $335 during the changeover, but earlier this year Eleven Madison reinstated tipping, meaning dinner prices actually jumped about 20% per person. Now the prices are rising again.
The restaurant’s bar menu soared from $20 to $195 – matching the cost of the full dining room menu in 2012, although the cruel laws of inflation dictate that just about everything cost a lot less dear more than ten years ago. Here’s a more practical comparison: dinner for two in the lounge — $381 after tax earlier this year — is now $502 due to price hikes and the new tipping regime. That’s an increase of over a hundred dollars in just a few months!
An option to add additional courses to the bar drops from $20 to $105.
Dinner in the main room will remain at $335 for now, but the restaurant’s formal wine pairing jumps $20 to $195. Eleven Madison is also now applying a $2 Tock reservation fee while customers make their non-refundable reservations. Result: a wine pairing tasting for two will now cost you more than $1,400. Wine pairings also increase by $20 at the bar to $115.
Among New York’s small class of three Michelin-star establishments, Eleven Madison’s prices aren’t necessarily out of place. At current levels, it largely ranks as more expensive than Le Bernardin or Per Se (before surcharges), but still cheaper than Brooklyn Fare or Masa. Eleven Madison did not respond to Eater’s request for comment.
Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau’s Shuko has, for years, served as a more approachable counterpoint to the city’s more expensive and more traditional sushi bars. While dozens of raw fish spots have hiked their prices to stratospheric levels, Shuko has long hovered at a more reasonable $228. The omakase establishment also functioned as a creative analogue of the city’s more traditional sushi-yas, serving jaw-dropping dishes like toro tendon with fiery chilies.
Now, perhaps somewhat inevitably, this gem of an East Village spot is moving towards a more expensive price point. Dinner at Shuko has gone up to $270, which means the tasting is just under $350 after tax and tip. Throw in wine pairings and dinner for two will cost just under $1,100 for two. This always happens at the lower end of the city’s tony omakase scene, where menus that cost between $400 and $500 before wine are increasingly common. Shuko did not respond to Eater’s request for comment.
In an age of sky-high sushi, Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert’s golden temple to fine French fish remains one of the city’s most affordable seafood restaurants – but it will still cost more than par the past.
When I last reviewed in late 2019, Le Bernardin was asking $168 for its four-course menu, $198 for a seven-course tasting, and $228 for an eight-course menu, with a three-course lunch at $93. Now, after a series of small increases over the past two years – sometimes as little as $5 at a time – the shortest menu is $195, while the tasting is $295. Lunch is $120. The seven-course tasting is no longer offered. Le Bernardin declined to comment on the price hike through a representative.
Danny Meyer and chef Micheal Anthony’s Gramercy Tavern charged $148 for his tasting menu last summer, before climbing to $158 and now $165. Le Pavillon de Daniel Boulud has increased its three-course menu from $10 to $135 and its tasting menu by the same amount to $205. Tipping is not included at either site.