As opposed to when it’s $395? I don’t think there’s such a bright line. Anything over maybe $100 per person you’re talking about rich people, upper-middle-income foodies, and a small number of lower-income types who spend most or all of their disposable income on food.
Almost anyone who can afford $300 can afford $500. If you’re not rich, it’s just a question of allocating your budget.
Spending more than $195 (base) is a hard sell for me as for that price I can go to Shibumi, or go to Majordomo or République and order a la carte.
I’m not going to spend over $300 (base) on sushi omakase because I wouldn’t appreciate the difference (if any) between that and Yoshizumi (currently $295). But the next omakase meal I have will likely be somewhere cheaper.
I don’t think he’s ignoring the realities of the costs of owning a business in the US. It seems to be the opposite. That to adequately provide everything to their employees that they provide in Europe, fine dining restaurants should be raising their pricing.
I think what Marcus and his team want is pretty ambitious when it comes to taking care of staff. The question is how to do it without alienating everyone from your food. Which brings back to the discussion of what high-end sushi omakase restaurants are charging and the acceptance of said pricing. What does western dining need to make the general public more accepting of higher-priced experiences which can then fuel better pay for the staff.
Wow that seems so reasonable by today’s standards. I remember my total for two with wine pairing was well over $1k and thinking holy cow that’s a lot of money for dinner but was still such an enjoyable experience that I had no regrets. No way am I willing to pay double that for a dinner regardless of how many luxury ingredients they serve.
I do agree that Marcus’s perspective is driven by his ambition and goals for taking care of staff, which is admirable. Fair to debate whether the price of tasting menus should increase as much as he says, though I think market forces would ultimately sort that out (sort of like what @robert said about restaurant’s judging whether their price is too low or too high based on volume).
But I’m not sure the comparison to high-end omakase spots really helps his case. A lot of the high end sushi spots are not $550 as he suggests, but closer to the $250 to $300 range: Kaneyoshi ($300, one turn a night), Takeda ($280), Shunji ($250), Kogane ($250), Inaba ($280, one turn a night). That’s on par with higher-end western tasting menus in LA that (some of which seat more folks and turn more tables): Manzke ($260), Providence ($295), Melisse ($295). Sure, there are some outliers: SGO is $400 omakase. But SGO is exceptional, as are the western tasting menus in SF that approach $400 (Quince, TFL, etc.).
So I guess I’m just not all that persuaded that people are cutting high-end omakase spots some slack when it comes to pricing but don’t offer the same grace to western tasting menus. Pricing generally seems to reflect quality, with some exceptions at the margins that are overpriced or underpriced (in the eyes of any given diner).
Have never been, would love to check it out. $65 is hard to beat lol.
My go-to bang for buck omakase was always shin in encino, especially when it was in the $110 to $125 range. The last couple times I went, it was a bit more than that, so I wonder if the upward price creep has continued. Still fantastic quality at that price point imo