$5500 dinner - is there a moral component

This sounds so totally wonderful. And hopefully only the very rich will pay that much. But then there’s a moral component…for me. At a much lower price tag. We treat ourselves to nice meals (and other things like travel). But we also “do good deeds.” With all the need in this world I don’t think I could live with myself if I didn’t. I’m interested if others feel the same and what, if you care to share, do you do?

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Plenty of people drop $300K+ to buy an ultra-luxury car in this town without so much as a bat of an eyelash. Not sure if the concept of morals is ever woven into the equation there. I just haven’t seen much “one-percenter guilt” as has been reported. Also let’s not forget that most of these affluent people are involved with other (very much tax-deductible) charities or philanthropies, so I’m not convinced there is much lost sleep over the “morals” involved with a single $5500 meal.

I can’t tell from that article whether it was wonderful or not, but for $5500 I’d rather eat at Saison and take a trip to New York to eat at Daniel.

And have a ton of money left over!

I don’t see any moral component here. Whether there’s value is a different question, and that depends on a lot of factors.

The kind of people who tend to see morality issues in things like this tend to be people who don’t have the money to buy them.

I am very surprised that this isn’t the average rate of dinners at high-end restaurants. As the article points out, $5,500 meant literally nothing to the people at this dinner, it was the same thing as eating at Olive Garden for them (if that).

It’s amazing to think that Saison only costs 1/5 this price and that’s one of the more expensive places.

I guess restaurants just don’t want to be seen as greedy?

If Saison were sold out every night, they might raise their prices.

An excerpt:

"The squab’s head was also served, severed. It’s (sic) cloudy eyes looking up, blind like justice, judging those who feasted on its tender body.

And what might it judge? The question of whether a $5,500 dinner is ever worth it has two main components. The first is literally, does what you get for $5,500 warrant the price tag? The second, infinitely more important than the first, is whether a dinner that costs $5,500 is morally permissible."

Ugh - I hate this kind of writing. Would drinking celebrated vintage wine, getting floor seats at an important ball game, flying first class, buying artwork, wearing designer clothing, or driving a sports car be “morally permissible?” All of those can and often do easily cost much more than $5,500. Should nobody ever drive a very high-end luxury car? Should luxury watchmakers not exist? Nobody writes an article questioning whether getting floor seats at the Warriors’ game is “Fool’s Gold” or immoral because there’s a big opportunity cost that could save the world. C’mon, this is lazy “journalism,” and parsing out the value or “permissibility” of these kinds of things is stupid, and trying to get philosophical about it doesn’t excuse it from being extremely banal.

The title “Fool’s Gold” and implying the metaphorical bittersweetness of it all with the chocolate dessert seem rather judging. If people enjoy it, the market will bear it, and it’s not harmful to others, what’s wrong with that? For the record, I heard about this event but didn’t think it would be worth it. But I didn’t go around musing about the right for it to exist.

some tik the 400k luxe car is less despicabley than da 5000 meal

The writer doesn’t really seem to like Lamborghini:

"For even though these men are makers of the machines, these machines would seem to be the masters of the men. If this is a sport, who are the athletes? Is it those dancing bears, bearers of tires? Is it the drivers, with their helmets, neck braces, sense of derring do, and assumptions of bodily risk? Is the lollypop man, whose task it is to flag the cars into the pit with what looks like an oversized lolly?

Perhaps the real athletic feat isn’t at the race track at all but is, rather, in the sterile and analytic engineering laboratories in Bologna, Modena, Stuttgart, and Detroit? Instead of bodies breathing, motorsports are about engines aspirating. Muscles are carefully angled cylinders and fuel comes in gallons not carbohydrates."

It isn’t that hard. Motorsport is a team sport - it’s about engineering, endurance, and driver skill. And real race car drivers are generally quite athletic, they should have excellent reaction times and they have to be able to corner a car at very high speeds very precisely. There’s no ball and hopefully no collisions, but it’s a sport in the sense that it’s a competition.

What makes you think that?

N/Naka in LA is sold out every single night, for three months in advance (they don’t take any reservations farther out than that), and they cost less than half of Saison, and don’t seem to be raising their prices despite being sold out every night and being fully capable of it thanks, at least in some part, to their Chef’s Table episode. Their pricing indicates that while they are quite expensive, they also have more than enough room to easily raise their prices.

Whatever you think of the place, it seems to indicate that such places would not actually just raise prices if they were more popular.

Or was your point that Saison has already reached the practical limit somehow? Despite the fact that there is large audience for whom $5,500 on dinner would be the same as the $520 Saison currently charges?

Well, the writer does mention it in the article, almost as a sarcastic jab at the readers and Peter Singer, that the moral view really would be for everyone to be an ascetic with no luxuries and donate all of their excess money to starving people around the world. That actually is Singer’s view. shrugs

The author definitely thinks luxuries are immoral, so I am sure they would say no one should indulge in any of those things lol

You have to assume this kind of writing appeals to people with no money; the systematically fucked over millenials out there, etc…

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I also didn’t mention that I attended Catholic schools for 12 years. (Did you hear that the Catholics and the Jews started a school? Our Lady of Perpetual Guilt.) As to the wealthy and their philanthropy, some do and some don’t. PS to Aesthete: I could pay that without batting an eye. But wouldn’t. It offends my personal sense of financial ethics.

There better be.

For $5500, that moral component better taste like the best moral component I’ve ever had.


Saison raised prices until they were the most expensive restaurant in SF, and it’s much easier to get into than some of its competitors.

I would be sure that your CPA would write this off as a donation .:smirk: Fund raiser .

Well hello there Ms. My-New-Best-Friend-And-Most-Trusted-Confidant…

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As usual, I appreciate and learn from your comments. Thanks.

Yes, this. I personally cannot afford a meal like this, but, as long as they ain’t taking my tax dollars to fund it, I don’t see what the “moral” problem is. As @J_L mentions, most of the people who can afford this are presumably making a ton of charitable donations, so… ::shrug::

For $5500, the transport better be a Mercedes-Maybach and not just an S-Class. :stuck_out_tongue:

And I do think motorsports is absolutely a sport. The nerves of steel, the body to be able to withstand the g-forces, and the coordination. As ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve the race-car drivers on Dancing with the Stars, and those people are extraordinary fit and nimble. To be able to drive at high speed w/o any electronic and life-saving nannies is not for the faint of heart.