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How Much is Too Much?
Wednesday, November 01, 2006 | posted by Mike

Bobby FlayI’m sitting here at TVFF.com Headquarters and next to me on the desk is a copy of the menu from The Frog and The Peach, at which I had dinner a few weeks back. For those not in or around New Jersey, The Frog is regularly cited as one of the top restaurants in the state. It’s also priced as such, with entrées ranging from $20-$39. It was very good, but at those prices, not the kind of place you go to every week.

Now, even if you’re shopping for the finest ingredients, the prices at a restaurant like The Frog far outweigh what it would cost to cook at home. But, since we’re “foodies,” we understand that we’re paying for the artistry and craftsmanship of the chef who prepares our meals and we’re OK with paying a premium for a fine meal. Not everyone feels the same, but that’s why we’re different.

But how much is too much when it comes to the prices of dishes at restaurants? I ask because MSNBC.com has an article as part of their partnership with The Motley Fool highlighting the arrival of the $39.95 shrimp scampi at a New York Restaurant. The psychological impact of the $40 entrée can be quite intimidating.

And it’s not just the raw dollar amount that is the issue:
It's worth noting that these increases have outpaced inflation. The New York Times cited Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill restaurant in New York as an example: "His entrees at Mesa Grill in New York top out at $34. (When it opened in 1991, the steepest entree was $19, or $28.30 when adjusted for inflation.)"
So…1991 would have been well before Bobby Flay became the internationally-known celebrity chef who gets stopped on the street by admirers. Say, we’re not paying a premium for Bobby’s “name,” are we?

For my part, I don’t mind laying out a little extra for a special occasion and when I know the food is truly worth it. But $40 shrimp scampi? No thanks…I’ll have the pasta.



Hi, I'm Mike and I created TVFoodFan.com as a place where you can come to get the latest news and views about what’s going on in the world of culinary television.

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