Dining out in New York these days may bring on a critical case of sticker shock. Restaurants in the Big Apple have always been expensive–but prices have soared in just the past few months. The $15 breakfast is now the $25 breakfast. The $20 lunch is now the $40 lunch, and the $50 to $60 dinner is now the $80-$100 dinner. That glass of wine that used to be around $8 is now $12 to $15. And that $6 dessert is now $9 to $12. What’s worst: portions have been reduced in many cases, as well. Dine at one of those fancy-smancy, small plate restaurants, and you can drop a bundle trying to leave well fed. At one popular Manhattan eatery, I found an entrée that I wanted; then decided that the pumpkin-filled ravioli would make a nice appetizer. It was listed at $24, under main plates, so I asked if they could make it as an appetizer–say about half the regular portion [for half the price, hopefully], and I was stunned when the waiter said that the dish only consisted of five small raviolis to begin with–too small to halve. Twenty-four dollars, and it didn’t even contain any meat. If I had ordered an appetizer–most ranged from $18 to $35–an entrée and a dessert [no salad], my bill would have been more than $80, without beverages, wine or tip. [And this was not La Grenouille.] Now, consumers not only have to worry about high gasoline prices, but, when they eat out, they are feeling the same pressure at the table that they are feeling at the pump.
Hey, we’re all living in Gouge City. The latest Zagat restaurant guide for New York City says that restaurant prices are up by 71 percent since 2001, increasing the cost of a meal at a better restaurant from around $84 to $143.
By the way, here is a recipe for pumpkin ravioli, by Wolfgang Puck (click the link). I think I’ll just make my own, thank you!