New York’s fine dining scene shows no signs of slowing the pace of price increases as raging inflationary forces keep pushing up the cost of doing business. A $1,000 dinner for two, once somewhat rare, is now a reasonably ordinary affair at more of the city’s elite European and Japanese restaurants.
The cost of dining out is going up throughout the city of course, amid surging food prices and a tight labor market. But while institutions like slice shops and tamale vendors have done their best to keep price increases everyday in check, some of Manhattan’s top fine dining palaces have more freedom to tweak up prices more aggressively and frequently, thanks to their well-heeled clienteles and status as splurge spots.
Among those venues raising their prices as of late are Eleven Madison Park, Daniel Humm’s vegan tasting menu restaurant; Le Bernardin, the heralded French seafood spot; and Shuko, historically one of New York’s most affordable omakase spots. Daniel Boulud’s Le Pavillon, a fancy Gallic restaurant near Grand Central, and Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern have hiked their prices as well. Here are all the details:
Eleven Madison Park
Humm rocked the culinary world when he announced last year that he’d be eliminating virtually all animal products from his restaurant, once ranked the world’s best by a controversial list. The dinner menu remained at $335 during the changeover, but earlier this year Eleven Madison reinstituted tipping, meaning that the price of dinner effectively jumped up by 20 percent or so per person. Now, prices are going up yet again.
The restaurant’s bar menu is shooting up by $20 to $195 — which is what the full dining room menu cost in 2012, though the cruel laws of inflation dictate that just about everything cost much less over a decade ago. Here’s a more practical comparison: Dinner for two in the lounge — $381 after tax earlier this year — is now $502 due to the price hike and the new tipping regime. That’s an increase of over a hundred bucks in just a few months!
An option to add on supplemental courses in the bar is dropping by $20 to $105.
Dinner in the main room will remain at $335 for now, but the restaurant’s formal wine pairing is shooting up for $20 to $195. Eleven Madison also now tacks on a $2 Tock booking fee while patrons make their non-refundable reservations. Result: a wine-paired tasting for two will now set you back over $1,400. Wine pairings are going up by $20 in the bar, too, to $115.
Among New York’s small class of three Michelin-starred venues, Eleven Madison’s pricing isn’t necessarily out of line. At the current level, it largely ranks as more expensive than Le Bernardin or Per Se (before supplements), but remains 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 accessible counterpoint to the city’s pricier and more traditional sushi bars. As scores of raw fish spots have risen their prices to stratospheric levels, Shuko has long hovered at a more reasonable $228. The omakase establishment has also functioned as a creative analogue to the city’s more traditional sushi-yas, serving breathtaking dishes like toro sinew with fiery chiles.
Now, perhaps somewhat unusually, this gem of an East Village spot is edging up toward a more expensive pricing tier. Dinner at Shuko has risen to $270, which means the tasting runs just under $350 after tax and tip. Add on wine pairings and dinner for two will come in at just under $1,100 for two. That still comes in at the lower end of the city’s tony omakase scene, where menus that come in at $400 to $500 before wine are increasingly common. Shuko did not respond to Eater’s request for comment.
In an era of exorbitant sushi, Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert’s gilded temple to fancy French fish remains one of the city’s more fairly priced haute seafood joints — but it will still cost more than in years past.
During the time of my last review in late 2019, Le Bernardin asked $168 for its four-course menu, $198 for a seven-course tasting, and $228 for an eight-course menu, with a three-course lunch running $93. Now, following 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 rising prices through a representative.
Also of note:
Danny Meyer and chef Micheal Anthony’s Gramercy Tavern charged $148 for its tasting menu last summer, before jumping up to $158 and now, to $165. Daniel Boulud’s Le Pavillon, in turn, has pushed up its three-course menu for $10 to $135, and its tasting by the same amount to $205. Gratuities are not included at either venue.