David Chang's most expensive restaurant just got TONS more expensive. Momofuku Ko, which re-opens on Friday in its new location at Eight Extra Place, has raised the price of dinner to $175, an increase of $50 over the old menu. With that higher cost come more indulgences: the two-Michelin-starred restaurant has lengthened the menu to 17-courses. Online reservations are now being accepted.
"It has been five years since a menu price increase," a spokesperson for Momofuku tells Eater. "During that time, like everyone else, we have seen an increase in both the cost of goods and operating expenses. However, we have also increased individual salaries and benefits and the total number of employees at Ko."
So what does this all mean for your wallet? A meal for two at Ko, after tax and tip, will cost $451, a 40 percent hike over the old cost of $322. Add on beverage pairings at $155, and a dinner date will run you $851. Yes, that's a heck of a lot more than Ko used to cost, but it's still more affordable than a lot of New York's other tasting menu-only venues. Blanca, by comparison, is $195; Atera and Eleven Madison Park are $225; and the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare is $255.
Another point of reference: Ko's new dinner price is precisely what the venue used to charge at lunch. Mid-day meals at the old location, at around 17 courses or so, were always longer than the $125 dinner service, which was approximately 10 courses.
Regardless of the menu's length, Ko was long overdue for a price hike. The restaurant originally charged $85 for dinner when it opened in March 2008, then raised its price to $100 in the summer of the same year. The dinner menu then jumped to $125 in June of 2009, while the lunch menu rose from $160 to $175, and both offerings had remained at those levels until now.
"We could do a $200 menu," Chang told Bloomberg News in 2012. "But it would just seem out of place, because we don't have the service and we don't have the luxuries that other restaurants have."
Indeed, Ko's original location was a pared down and somewhat cramped space. There were 12 seats around a counter and patrons sat on backless stools, not the most pleasant thing for a three-hour meal. The new Ko, in turn, has around 40 seats — many of the at the chef's counter — stools with backs, and a bar for pre or post-prandial cocktails! And there's table seating as well, for those who like that sort of thing.
But what type of increased oenophilic extravagances will come with super spendy wine pairings? It's a very real question as that option, which was $95 as of July 2014, is now $155, a sturdy 47 percent hike. Still, these prices aren't out of line with what other high-end venues are charging for wine pairings. Eleven Madison Park commands $155, while Atera and Brooklyn Fare ask $150.
This all means that Ko is the most expensive of Momofuku's three tasting menu restaurants around the globe. At Shoto in Toronto, a 10-course menu costs $150 CAD (~$133 USD), while at Seiobo in Sydney, the tasting is $185 AUD (~$157 USD); both of those venues offer shorter, more affordable options as well.
Is Ko 2.0 a BUY HOLD OR SELL at these prices? Let us know in the comments and check out all the interactive graphs!