The Grill, Major Food Group’s reboot of the Four Seasons, which was one of New York’s most expensive a la carte restaurants, officially opened on Thursday and — surprise! — it’s one of the city’s most expensive a la carte restaurants again.
You will spend a lot on chef Mario Carbone’s reimagined midcentury food. A chopped salad costs $27. (Let that sink in for a minute.) Crab gumbo is $28. The so-called Seagrams crab cake runs $37. Just four of eighteen mains drop below $40.
Many of those entrees, like the $45 salmon in chartreuse sauce or the $57 venison with walnuts and berries, are served steakhouse style, which means if you want a starch or vegetable with those (like chinois asparagus or grits with marrow), that’ll be an extra $12.
A three-course dinner for two, including cocktails and one coffee per person, will run anywhere from $302-$461. Expect to drop at least $150 on each guest.
More specifically, $302 gets you a leaner meal that includes a littleneck clam cocktail, endive salad, chicken a la queen, steamed asparagus, cajun snapper, German layer cake, and cherry melba flambé, while $461 gets you a heartier repast of crab cake, foie gras, lobster Newburg, wild pheasant Claiborne, rice pilaf, fresh fruit ambrosia, and banana éclairs.
Will the cost of dinner alienate the power crowd? It shouldn’t, as the menu appears a touch cheaper than the old Four Seasons’. In the original Grill Room, a perennially packed and light-filled lunchtime space, there were just two mains under $50, with a burger at $38 and filet mignon at $72.
By contrast, a strip steak for one costs $65 in the new Grill — the same price as at the Michelin-starred Minetta Tavern. Oysters on the half shell are $24, lower than the $32 that the old Grill Room charged for the fried variety a year ago. And the new steak tartare, at $26, is actually ten bucks cheaper than it was previously.
Assuming the Four Seasons reboot attracts a crowd that’s younger and moneyed than the old space did (I’m betting Henry Kissinger never shows up more than once), it’s worth noting that dinner here will likely cost less than virtually any high-end sushi spot that’s opened in the last few years.
Also keep in mind that many ambitious culinary establishments treat their opening months like an extended friends and family period, and therefore advertise prices that aren’t necessarily sustainable for the long term.
And even though the staff isn’t unionized at the new Grill, it’s hard to fathom how any restaurant group could conduct an estimated $15 to $30 million in renovations and find a way to sustainably keep prices lower than the previous establishment.
Prices will likely go up after the major critics file their reviews, if not sooner.