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It's ex ante reasonable to feel skeptical about a meal where the ingredients read like they're a lot cheaper than they should be given the menu price. If one is in fact disappointed with that overall experience of the meal, it also wouldn't be unreasonable to point to the apparent cost of the ingredients.

 

In general, in an efficient market, one would expect high-end restaurants to incur similar high ingredient costs in the long run. This however is not going to be universally true, and certainly not at every point in time, because the market is not efficient.

 

As an experienced diner with catholic tastes, you should not dismiss outright that in the context of a different cuisine, ingredients generally seen as lower-status in the context of French cuisine can be just as valuable.

 

If a restaurant is mostly working with these sorts of undervalued ingredients, you'd expect perhaps in the medium term that these restaurants should charge a bit less (because they can), but in the long term the desirability of those ingredients (if they are in fact as good as the restaurant claims they are) should cause the price of the novel high-end restaurants to match the mainstream.

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Aska is, of course, the "real" restaurant that one of the guys from Frej opened up with the FOH/cocktail guy from EMP and then Atera. Like Frej, it's in the Kinfolk Studio space in Williamsburg. Unl

Going back 25 pages or so, I'll try to restate my original view on this again. The only time I've questioned the overall value of a tasting menu meal is when I've been disappointed with some aspect o

Though I shouldn't make assumptions, I'm just guessing your date wasn't picking up the tab. There can be an inverse correlation between excitement level and skin in the game. (Do correct me if I'm ass

As an experienced diner with catholic tastes, you should not dismiss outright that in the context of a different cuisine, ingredients generally seen as lower-status in the context of French cuisine can be just as valuable.

 

If a restaurant is mostly working with these sorts of undervalued ingredients, you'd expect perhaps in the medium term that these restaurants should charge a bit less (because they can), but in the long term the desirability of those ingredients (if they are in fact as good as the restaurant claims they are) should cause the price of the novel high-end restaurants to match the mainstream.

Gold star.

 

If "you" is me, my dispute has been with the assertion that it's unreasonable ever to take reasonable assumptions about ingredient cost into account when evaluating the value of a meal. (And the case was really pressed that strongly--that diners can't take account of "input").

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Going back 25 pages or so, I'll try to restate my original view on this again. The only time I've questioned the overall value of a tasting menu meal is when I've been disappointed with some aspect of the meal. The best example of disappointment is when there are 12 courses and only 3 or 4 are really good and 4 or 5 are pretty bad and the rest are just ordinary. And even then, I rarely if ever analyze what I think is the cost of the ingredients.

 

To me, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference if what sucked was foie gras or the beef heart. The reverse is true as well.

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Going back 25 pages or so, I'll try to restate my original view on this again. The only time I've questioned the overall value of a tasting menu meal is when I've been disappointed with some aspect of the meal. The best example of disappointment is when there are 12 courses and only 3 or 4 are really good and 4 or 5 are pretty bad and the rest are just ordinary. And even then, I rarely if ever analyze what I think is the cost of the ingredients.

 

To me, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference if what sucked was foie gras or the beef heart. The reverse is true as well.

 

Contra could have opened at $200 pp if more were like you.

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Somewhere separate from ingredient cost is, IMHO, a price on talent, genius, imagination, balls if you will. The market gladly pays (what many consider) unreasonable prices to see the most talented entertainers, actors, the best sports teams.

 

I, for one, have had my lifetime allowance of foie gras, blue lobster, fine beef and friends. But I have both room and hunger for plates that come from the wild imagination of a compulsively experimental chef. I look to the hedonistic joy of a good plate without thinking of the cost of either the ingredients or the final tab.

 

I can put a price on food that I eat because I am physically hungry. A good steak or exquisite foie gras can be little more than, "Yes, this is how it should be" and priced according to the market. It is harder to put a price on food that offers me a totally unexpected experience, an epiphany that is not soon forgotten.

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What's the difference between "perceived cost" and "quality"? The idea anyway is to not fall into a dumb conclusion if a chef happened to get some product at a discount or a markup.

 

So to make this concrete, suppose a hypothetical SolidSF from eGullet were to visit a tasting menu restaurant, Beige. Suppose that restaurant served turnips at prices more closely associated with truffles.

 

Now, if Solid didn't know that he was going to get turnips instead of truffles... either he didn't do his research, or the restaurant pulled a bait and switch. In the former case, he's dumb; in the latter case, the restaurant is being perfidious. It'd make sense to complain in the latter case, but it'd just be being silly in the former.

 

Suppose Solid were expecting turnips instead of truffles, though. Well, there's a number of reasonable complaints he could make along the lines of "the turnips weren't as good as I'd hoped", "the turnips weren't as good as truffles would have been". What's not a reasonable complaint is just plain "I got turnips instead of truffles" because he already knew that.

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It is harder to put a price on food that offers me a totally unexpected experience, an epiphany that is not soon forgotten.

 

Examples please. Unless you mean the little scraps of old fish and stuff with mediocre wines for 230 Euros.

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