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  1. #1

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    $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    With all this talk about Victoria and Albert's banning children under 10 (a smart move, I believe), it got me thinking A LOT about fine dining. Do people actually pay upwards to $125 for a dining experience? Now I'm not one to consider Denny's or even El Torito fine dining, but I'm also one to pay $15-$30 on a restaurant meal when I splurge. I guess I don't understand why fine dining would cost so much! Are there certain key things I'm not taking into consideration, like exotic ingredients, the process of preparation, or the name of the chef? Please enlighten an otherwise ignorant mind on fine dining. Thanks.
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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    There are a lot of things that go into it!

    A V&A's there is a lot that goes into each meal!

    First, every day is different. Each meal is special. Some of their meat dishes can take days to marinate and prepare.

    The restaurant will not seat more than 60 people (i believe, this might be 90) a night, and has everything ready and personalized for you.

    The chef also has a lot to do with it. This is not a person who is a chef at Olive Garden, someone who while they might be a great chef, is not really allowed any creativity or real control over their dishes.

    Where at V&As they strive to create (think Rataouille)!

    If you want to see some fun pics, Kevin Yee did a story a few weeks ago about it, and his take on it all, I was supprised he liked it, but all in all it is a great article and review on the place, and might help you understand the price tag!
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  3. #3

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    I can't enlighten you, but I can let you know I am in the same boat . I can't fathom spending that much on a meal; however, I certainly would love to if the opportunity presented itself (for my mom's 50th birthday, we went to a premier steakhouse in Buffalo, one of the top 10 in the country, and my steak was like $50 Oh, and get this, my grandma saved some of hers for her dog *shudders*).

    If you've ever seen the Grand Floridian episode of Great Hotels with Samantha Brown, you can get a sample of what it's like to eat there (although she ate at the chef's table).

    This is going to sound terrible, but I have a sensitive stomach, and my ultimate fear is I'll finally be able to eat at a place like V&A and I'll get sick from it .
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  4. #4

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    Each table also has it's own waiter and waitress. The service is far beyond what you get anywhere else.

    That said the place is not for everyone. it's also not for everyday. For most people it is probably a once in a lifetime meal.

    As far as spending $125 a person at a meal, I have gourmet friends who do that a few times a year. I'll have to ask them what the most they would spend for a meal is.

  5. #5

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    We were given 2 dinners there as a honeymoon gift. It was spectacular. Best meal ever. If it was just the 2 of us again, I'd save up and do it.

    Normally I have a hard time spending more than $15-$20 a person for a meal, though

  6. #6

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    For fine gorment dining, this price range doesn't strike me out of the ordinary at all. It's like clothes... you can get a pair of pants at Old Navy for $20, or a pair of jeans at Bloomingdales for $150. Pick your spending limit, and splurge once in a while if you can.
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  7. #7

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    Quote Originally Posted by JesterMn View Post
    For fine gorment dining, this price range doesn't strike me out of the ordinary at all. It's like clothes... you can get a pair of pants at Old Navy for $20, or a pair of jeans at Bloomingdales for $150. Pick your spending limit, and splurge once in a while if you can.
    Not so sure about the comparison though.

    For the extra $130 at Bloomingdales what do you get that's better than the jeans at Old Navy? I mean, seriously.

    But ... when looking at food, if you say go to Olive Garden for $20 then go to V&A for $125, I'm sure you can tell the difference in that $105 price tag.


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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    Not so sure about the comparison though.

    For the extra $130 at Bloomingdales what do you get that's better than the jeans at Old Navy? I mean, seriously.

    But ... when looking at food, if you say go to Olive Garden for $20 then go to V&A for $125, I'm sure you can tell the difference in that $105 price tag.
    I don't know about Bloomingdales, but if you go to the Gap you can get a massive GAP logo on it to show everyone you spent waaaay too much for them!

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    To your average well-healed gastronome...$125 for a meal (food only) is nothing. At some of the more expensive and renowned restaurants around the world...you might easily pay that for an appetizer or bowl of soup, that was an epicurean's delight!

    And then there's the added value placed upon the service level you might receive.

    Is anything worth that much? That's in the mouth of the beholder, and also often in the depth of the pocketbook of the beholder (or if someone else is picking up the tab). But I can tell you that I've had meals that were in excess of $500...and they were worth every Euro, IMHO! Simply sublime.

    Heck...in New York City at the famous Old Homestead Steakhouse...you can enjoy a $41 hamburger! Does that make it 8 times better than your average hamburger? Some people think so.


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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    Seriously, I'm pretty cheap on most things. A big night out is a local steakhouse that has a filet for around $16.99 including salad, rolls and a side. Better is when they have it on special.

    However, I would like to someday do V&A just once. It may not be cheap, but I do think it would be a decent value for the experience. It's a big night out, and if you went to Yak and Yeti - an appetizer, entree, soda and dessert can run you $40.00. Tutto Italia can run up to $75 or $80. So I think $125.00 for V&A for an experience is reasonable.
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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    And isn't there more than one or two courses of food involved too? I've never eaten there but I know a lot of fine dining places offer 5, 6 and 7 course meals that beat the typical soup/salad, main course and dessert.
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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    Quote Originally Posted by FantasticDuck View Post
    And isn't there more than one or two courses of food involved too? I've never eaten there but I know a lot of fine dining places offer 5, 6 and 7 course meals that beat the typical soup/salad, main course and dessert.
    I believe I've read 7. It's really supposed to be quite nice, and I've never had anyone tell me anything but terrific things about the food and experience. It's like going to Cirque - Cirque is upwards of $100.00, but I think it's worth every penny. (well, better when there are AP rates). But it's such an incredible show, and some experiences are worth the extra money.
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  13. #13

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. This really does answer a lot of questions I had.
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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    I spent $125 for myself on dinner last year during DCA's Food & Wine Weekends. It was at Steakhouse 55 and was the Winemakers Dinner. It was the first time I'd EVER spent that much on myself for dinner and it was worth every penny. The entire experience was wonderful. The meal, the atmosphere, the wine. The Chef came out before each course and explained the process of making the course, he was very charismatic and enjoyable. The wine rep also came out and explained each wine, how it was made, aged, what it was best served with the whole nine yards. It was simply amazing. I wouldn't do it often, but if I could do it once a year, I would defintely do.

    I would love to some day do V & A. But, I wouldn't take my husband he wouldn't enjoy it. But, my 13 year old, he would both enjoy and appreciate it.



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  15. #15

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    Re: $125 for fine dining? An inquiring mind wants to know...

    Just because I happen to have it handy to cut and paste, I'll give you an idea of what $125 a person is. And it's not one waiter and waitress per table. Each table has a "Victoria" and an "Albert" but the pair covers 3 or 4 tables (which is still a very high staff to diner raito)


    My ex and I ate there a while back

    My ex-wife hated all things fish, so they removed all fish items from her menu. She had many of the same choices I did, but where I had fish, they did substitue things.

    Here are the selections we chose, (I have the choices that were available somewhere, but not handy on line), so you can get an idea of what you may be presented with. (and that Veal Cheek - I still talk about it ) The wines I had are also listed.

    Notice how in the fish couse (#3) my ex had poultry. Because she does not like fish, she was given different offering when fish would normaly be on the menu.




    Amuse Bouche - Warm celery cream with basil olive oil. Mine was topped with smoked salmon and Iranian Caviar, the fish was left off Kerri's. Paired with Codorniu Cava Brut, Penedes NV


    Kerri: Smoked Colorado Buffalo with Melted Cabbage Slaw and Grains of Paradise
    Me: Blue Lump Crab and Fresh Gulf Shrimp with Petite French Green Lentils - Paired with Trimbach Gewurztraminer, Alsace 2002

    Kerri: Serrano Ham and Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Quail with Root Vegetable Flan
    Me: Poulet Rouge with Fresh Porcinis and a Truffled Egg paired with Feudi di San Nicola Negro Amaro, Puglia 2003

    Kerri: Poulet Rouge with Fresh Porcinis and a Truffled Egg (same thing I had in the previous course)
    Me: Atlantic Turbot with Winterpoint Oyster, Salsify, and Spinach Veloute paired with Domaine Maillard Pete et Fils Chorey-Les-Beaune Chardonnay, Burgundy 2004

    Kerri: Duet of Australian Kobe Beef
    Me: Marcho Farms Veal with Roasted Beet and Veal Cheek "Lasagna" paired with Charles Joguet "Cuvee Terroir" Cabernet Franc, Chinon 2003

    Kerri: Rasberry Gelato with Micro Garden Mint
    Me: Comte Sainte Antoine, Pierre Robert and English Stilton Cheesecake paired with Ramos Pinto Porto Tawny, Villa Nova de Gaia

    Kerri: Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Suffle
    Me: Caramelized Banana Gateau
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