And as Orik says, it's all really too much food, too much booze. I don't have a problem with any of it but I don't understand how a steakhouse could be seen as more over-indulgent than Per Se (or wherever).
I am just talking about perception. Plenty of people will look at the food at Per Se and say, "I'll still be hungry afterwards." I know that's not true, but to the extent that Per Se is promoting conspicuous consumption, it's not presenting it as a quantity thing. In fact, it's straining not to do so.
Right. People would definitely call Per Se indulgent but, as Orik said, it's representative of something else. Steakhouses get at a macho (trader-type) culture in a way that few restaurants do - it's a conspicuously loud, unrefined, and ugly experience (descriptive, not normative).