Union Square Hospitality Group's most expensive establishment is now even more expensive. The two Michelin-starred spot, the first of Danny Meyer's restaurants to raise wages and switch to a tip-free system, has hiked prices across the board in the formal dining room. During lunch, three courses are now $118 (up $6), while four courses are $128 (up $8). At dinner, three courses are $138 (up $16); four courses are $158 (up $6); and the tasting menu is $198 (up $16). In the a la carte barroom, some dishes have dropped in price by up to $6.
The Modern is tweaking its prices to "keep the value proposition and also to keep employees whole," USHG chief hospitality officer Sabato Sagaria said via phone. By keeping staffers whole, he means ensuring that workers, primarily waiters, bartenders and bussers, end up earning as much under the "Hospitality Included" system as they were under tipping – which they are, Sagaria said.
Three more notes on pricing:
1. The Modern remains Midtown's most expensive three-course power lunch at $128 after tax. That's pricier than a midday meal at Le Bernardin, which costs $110 after tax and tip, or at Jean-Georges, where a comparable meal runs $90.
2. Chef Abram Bissell's four-course menu, at $158, now costs almost much as a comparable meal at Jean-Georges.
3. Guests who order the full tasting, at $198, are now paying $38 more than they would have on a similar meal from early last fall (after tax and tip), or $51 more than from last summer. All told it's a 30 percent hike for that menu in less than a year. That said, The Modern's tasting is not out of line by New York standards; many high-end restaurants charge $195 or more before tip. You'll see what I mean in a minute.
Eamon Rockey and Bryce Shuman's Michelin-starred American restaurant on 57th Street has raised the price of the four-course dinner menu by $15 to $110 and the tasting menu by $20 to $210. Why'd they do it?
"An increase in minimum wage, decrease in the tip credit, and impending legislation regarding [overtime] exemption status forced us to respond with a slight increase in menu price," Rockey wrote in an email. The federal government is currently finalizing rules to raise to raise the overtime cap from $23,660 to $50,440, which means that a heck of a lot more workers, many of them managers in restaurants, will be eligible for time and a half pay for working more than 40 hours per week.
The eponymous Alsatian-American restaurant on Bryant Park, which this critic awarded three stars in a review last year, raised the price of its four-course menu by $10 to $125 and its tasting by the same amount to $205. That's a 28 percent hike from last fall's opening price of $98 for the prix fixe, and an 11 percent hike from the tasting's original $185 price.