The Obscenity Of Overpriced Food

January 18th, 2015 § 2 comments

The Japanese chef Masyoshi Takayama charges $450 a meal (before taxes, drinks and tip) at his restaurant Masa in New York’s Time-Life Center. This probably amounts to a total of $700-$800 (more or less) for luncheon for one. In HG’s view, this is self indulgence carried to an obscene length. The possible saving grace is that Masa serves meals of the rarest ingredients at their peak of freshness, prepared by artists of the Japanese kitchen who have undergone years of disciplined training. Still, no lunch for one can be worth 800 bucks. Sure, New York’s oligarchs can afford it but that doesn’t justify it. Now, Kappo Masa, another New York restaurant recently opened by Takayama (in association with art dealer/mogul Larry Gagosian), has moved pricing to a new height of vulgarity. It was the subject of an attack by New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells (he gave it a no-star review.) Wells cited some prices: $240 for tuna maki sprinkled with caviar. $120 for fried rice with mushrooms and truffles. $150 for beef tataki. Service is offhand. Many of the dishes are poorly prepared, according to Wells. Jay Rayner, the restaurant critic of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, launched a similar attack at the loftily priced Dorchester Restaurant in London’s posh Dorchester Hotel. Says HG: It’s about time. Rayner is HG’s favorite food writer. His prose can be ferocious. Here’s what he has to say about super pricey, below par meals: “I have no problem spending big money on a meal out. It just needs to be utterly memorable, the stuff of recollections whispered breathily at night. It can’t be a pallid fart of mediocrity, priced for some dodgy clientele who have ripped off the gross national product of a small impoverished nation and is now domiciled in London for tax reasons,”

Larry Gagosian and Masa Takayama Host the Opening of Restaurant Kappo Masa

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