Saturday, December 8, 2007

What's A Moderately Priced Restaurant?

Last night some friends were visiting from out of town and we went to Perilla in the West Village for dinner. Our friends, D & L, watched Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle compete through the show's first season, garnering its first Top Chef title.

The food was one of those Christopher Columbus moments, were you're like wow I am the first person to realize that there is such a thing as tasting every ingredient, as though you've discovered flavor itself. The interior was a nice balance between unfettered and elegant. Unfortunately, we sat in the back near a draft that kept us cold throughout the meal, but I didn't let it "ruin" the meal. Definitely, I would request a booth next time. I ordered the seared sea scallops as an appetizer and the jerk grouper as an entree, and I can still taste it in my mouth as I type these words. It was a great evening.

So suffice it to say, I blew my budget big time for going out. A bottle of wine, apps, entree, dessert, came out to $122 per couple. So while it is not Per Se, it sure as heck aint Sri Pra Phai.

During dinner we were talking about what we considered an expensive meal and a cheap meal. Personally, in New York if I can eat under $20 (which includes tax and tip) then I consider that a cheap meal. An entree above $20 is moderate to me (which is what Perilla's price point is), and a non-steak entree above $30 to me is expensive.

The thing that is hard about a moderately priced restaurant is that the food usually is good so I jack up the bill ordering more than just an entree. I'm not really willing to "try out" a moderate meal, I need to know ahead of time that it comes highly recommended because honestly I just don't roll like that. So once I'm eating good food, it's on. I want to try the apps, the desserts, have a nice sip of wine before I break out in hives, the whole works. So a moderately priced meal becomes, for me, expensive. There are exceptions, of course. Nearby Al di Là has moderately priced food and I am capable of only ordering one dish.

But I guess that when it's all said and done, I don't really know what is moderately priced until the bill comes. Do you?


Mrs. Micah said...

Entrees between $12 and $25 seems moderate to me. Perhaps more for specialties. And I've almost never eaten at one that charges more. Just a few times in my life.

I can imagine that tasting all the ingredients would be great--but I can do that with some really good recipes on my own (like the chicken curry one I put up today).

PiggyBankBlues said...

well, it did fall into your moderate category. but yes, I do agree that exorbitant prices for tasty food are exactly that, exorbitant. thankfully, m is an amazing cook. i'll check out your recipe :)

PiggyBankBlues said...

this is why i love my friends. several have come out to say that $122 for two isn't bad at all :)

SavingDiva said...

I don't really know what is moderately priced either...I try not to lump restaurants into categories...but I must admit if there are entrees over $10, I usually don't bother (unless it's a special occassion).