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Chevalier at The Baccarat


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I'm with joe in not understanding the lack of comprehension of this problem. I usually start a restaurant meal with a cocktail. And so when I'm given a list with prices that are unprecededently high, with no corresponding use of special hyper-luxe ingredients, I'm turned off.

 

It doesn't matter that some other hypothetical patron, who didn't ask for a cocktail list, would not have noticed it and thus would not have been turned off.

 

I DID ask, I DID notice, and I WAS turned off.

 

To answer, well, "the horror," you just will have to forgo a cocktail, isn't an answer. The fact is, I asked for the list, saw what they were charging, and can't unsee it. Whether I proceeded to order a cocktail or not is my affair -- I did -- but I can't forget that they're charging the kinds of extortionate prices that are usually charged by douchebag places that cater to those who care only about status and not at all about quality. And -- at least if you're me -- that only reinforces the impression you've already gotten from the name of the hotel in which they chose to place this restaurant, from the associated hotel/restaurant website, and from reports of the affilated hotel bar/lounge. (In the event, the food overcame those objections. We're talking first impressions. But we're also talking whether, on balance, you'd like to return.)

 

As I keep saying, if they charged $25 for bread service and gave you a single ordinary dinner roll, people would notice, and it would turn them off. This isn't any different.

 

And I'll repeat once again: if this keeps you from undertaking an initial visit to this restaurant, you're being stupid. Just don't order a cocktail. The issue isn't whether there's work-around for an initial exploratory visit. The issue is whether this is the kind of thing that could be done by a place we'd regularly patronize.

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I saw that the Baccarat's bar is opening tonight. No date yet for the main restaurant, Chevalier. This is the place Charles Masson will be running, with Shea Gallante in the kitchen. Modern take on

I recall the good old days when I went to a restaurant for the food. Now I have all these other things to worry about to determine if I had a good time.

I've been to that downstairs bar twice, and both times got a seat with no trouble at all.   I went upstairs only once. The bar was such a madhouse that a guy in a suit wouldn't even let me in the do

The difficulty to me is that this isn't something that you'd notice until after you've already gotten to the restaurant and decided that you were interested in a cocktail. And if the food is as great as you say, isn't the $5 or whatever premium on the cocktails barely even a footnote?

 

Given the assholes at, say, the bar at the Elm back when that place was good, or the decor at Corton that I hated more and more every time I went there, slightly higher cocktail prices seem like... not that big a deal, honestly. Though I agree the Baccarat Hotel is not somewhere I'd otherwise go.

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The difficulty to me is that this isn't something that you'd notice until after you've already gotten to the restaurant and decided that you were interested in a cocktail. And if the food is as great as you say, isn't the $5 or whatever premium on the cocktails barely even a footnote?

 

Given the assholes at, say, the bar at the Elm back when that place was good, or the decor at Corton that I hated more and more every time I went there, slightly higher cocktail prices seem like... not that big a deal, honestly. Though I agree the Baccarat Hotel is not somewhere I'd otherwise go.

As Sneakeater mentioned, he (and I) are interested in a cocktail even before we get to the restaurant, so we're going to ask to see the list.

 

Horrors aside, it's the way many people start their meals. Doesn't have to be a Manhattan or a Martini, but even in (once?) sophisticated places like Italy and France, diners often start with an "apéritif." A Campari, or maybe a Kir Royale (and I'm afraid to guess what Chevalier charges for one of those).

 

Barstools and decor don't really effect the cost of your meal. Enjoyment, or lack of enjoyment, based on those 2 parameters is different than the economics of $24 cocktails.

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The difficulty to me is that this isn't something that you'd notice until after you've already gotten to the restaurant and decided that you were interested in a cocktail. And if the food is as great as you say, isn't the $5 or whatever premium on the cocktails barely even a footnote?

 

That's exactly it: you don't get the signal till you're already there, and the price of the cocktails isn't a strong enough signal to send you back out the door. By the end of the meal, that signal is overwhelmed by many others, and is therefore, in the end, not very relevant.

 

I do agree it's a demerit, but not serious enough to matter, if it's the only thing "wrong" with the restaurant.

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I do agree it's a demerit, but not serious enough to matter, if it's the only thing "wrong" with the restaurant.

 

You mean - other than the fact that it's in the Baccarat Hotel?

 

And I got the signal before getting to the restaurant. And even though I may be stupid, it's pretty much enough to keep me from going here, because I'm already walking in with a chip on my shoulder.

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Whoa, whoa.

 

Most of the cocktails on the list are $22, not $24. Of the five signature $24 cocktails, two contain Ruinart, and one contains a 20 year old $90 Armagnac.

 

There is no rational comparison between being charged three or four more dollars for a cocktail than at a comparable restaurant in the same neighborhood, and being charged $25 for a bread roll. Come on.

 

Sneak cared. Fine. Oakie and I didn't. Equally, I insist, fine.

 

Did anyone else visit the upstairs bar and lounge area? It's huge; property-length, I think. When I was there, it was slammed. Can you imagine the multiple volumes of cocktails and other drinks being sold there in comparison to the restaurant service bar? The prices are clearly right for the upstairs bar, from a business perspective, just as the same prices are right at the King Cole.

 

So what this reduces to is the suggestion that the restaurant is sending "a signal" by not having an independent cocktail list from the bar upstairs. A totally different list, because what kind of signal would be sent by two tier pricing for the same drinks?

 

I can think of all kinds of good, practical reasons for not having two separate cocktail lists just to soothe the occasional customer who is disturbed by the extra three or four dollars. Reasons other than, for example, "contempt."

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Don't we all read reviews and if something is written about that turns us off, even if it is only one or two items other than the actual food that are a turn-off, aren't we all somewhat hesitant to go there? Seems kind of obvious to me.

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Whoa, whoa.

 

Most of the cocktails on the list are $22, not $24. Of the five signature $24 cocktails, two contain Ruinart, and one contains a 20 year old $90 Armagnac.

Actually, why you'd want to ruin good Champagne with all these other ingredients (grapefruit juice, Citadelle gin, cinnamon syrup, etc.) only reinforces my feelings about what the signal they're sending is.

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The difficulty to me is that this isn't something that you'd notice until after you've already gotten to the restaurant and decided that you were interested in a cocktail. And if the food is as great as you say, isn't the $5 or whatever premium on the cocktails barely even a footnote?

 

That's exactly it: you don't get the signal till you're already there, and the price of the cocktails isn't a strong enough signal to send you back out the door. By the end of the meal, that signal is overwhelmed by many others, and is therefore, in the end, not very relevant.

 

I do agree it's a demerit, but not serious enough to matter, if it's the only thing "wrong" with the restaurant.

 

No. A place called the bacarrat hotel is already sending that signal. You are primed to think its going to be that sort of place. And then you see the cocktail list and it affirms that priming.

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Whoa, whoa.

 

Most of the cocktails on the list are $22, not $24. Of the five signature $24 cocktails, two contain Ruinart, and one contains a 20 year old $90 Armagnac.

 

There is no rational comparison between being charged three or four more dollars for a cocktail than at a comparable restaurant in the same neighborhood, and being charged $25 for a bread roll. Come on.

 

Sneak cared. Fine. Oakie and I didn't. Equally, I insist, fine.

 

Did anyone else visit the upstairs bar and lounge area? It's huge; property-length, I think. When I was there, it was slammed. Can you imagine the multiple volumes of cocktails and other drinks being sold there in comparison to the restaurant service bar? The prices are clearly right for the upstairs bar, from a business perspective, just as the same prices are right at the King Cole.

 

So what this reduces to is the suggestion that the restaurant is sending "a signal" by not having an independent cocktail list from the bar upstairs. A totally different list, because what kind of signal would be sent by two tier pricing for the same drinks?

 

I can think of all kinds of good, practical reasons for not having two separate cocktail lists just to soothe the occasional customer who is disturbed by the extra three or four dollars. Reasons other than, for example, "contempt."

the point is having the same cocktail list signals the restaurant is for that crowd. A crwod that is indifferent to what Gallante is trying to do in the kitchen.

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