Bet you’ve heard this one before: Two of New York’s most expensive restaurants just became even more expensive. Will Guidara and Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park and Thomas Keller’s Per Se both raised their prices in the new year, pushing the cost of a fully loaded dinner for two further into the $1,000 range.
The hikes come as the city increases its minimum wage to $13/hour and its tipped minimum to $8.70/hour. The hikes also come as the state raises its managerial exemption rate — the amount restaurants have to pay managers to exclude them from overtime eligibility — by nearly $8,000 to $50,700. Wages at many ambitious venues exceed those rates, but pay hikes often cascade throughout the labor market, prompting higher paid employees to ask for raises as well.
Higher costs for restaurants mean higher prices for consumers. Eleven Madison Park, which earned the somewhat controversial title of “World’s Best Restaurant” last spring, increased the price of its lunch and dinner tasting menus by $20 to $315, service-included. The modest 6 percent hike is the venue’s first increase in two years. Wine pairings remain at $175. That means a fully-loaded dinner for two, after tax and wine, runs $1,067. Meanwhile, Eleven Madison’s bar menu, previously $155, is now $175.
A spokesperson for the three Michelin-starred restaurant cited both food and labor costs in the increase.
Thomas Keller’s Per Se, in turn, has pushed up its nine-course tasting menu by $15 to $340, also service-included. All of the restaurant’s famously expensive (and famous, period) supplements remain at their current levels, which is to say $30 for the foie gras, $60 for a higher-grade of caviar, $100 for Wagyu, and $125 for black truffles. A party of two that splits one of each supplement will spend at least $1,083 before wine.
This is Per Se’s first price hike since Pete Wells issued a stinging review of the three Michelin-starred restaurant in the winter of 2016; this critic also issued a tough judgement in 2014. Since then, there’s been some positive word of mouth, specifically concerning the cooking of Corey Chow, Per Se’s new chef de cuisine.
And while Per Se did not comment on the reasoning behind the hikes, the restaurant clearly feels confident enough in its kitchen and dining room staff to exercise a bit of pricing power. The restaurant did not, however, increase the prices of its salon menu ($195) or dessert tasting menu ($70).
The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare also pushed up its prices this week, bringing the cost of a wine-paired dinner for two to just under $1,300.