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Aug 18, 2001 04:18 PM

$27 Hamburger, stolen pens

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I picked up two amusing tidbits in this week's New York Magazine:

Looks like Daniel has opened up a more casual, less expensive restaurant that serves a $27 hamburger. In a economy where folks are getting laid off left and right and the stock market has given back most of its gains, I give the guy alot of credit. That takes balls.

ADNY, evidently has had most of the check signing Cartier pens stolen. I can just imagine the conversation: "Well dear, if I'm going to spend $500 on diner for two, I might as well take a little souvenir."

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    Caitlin McGrath

    OK, the 21 Club has a burger thats $28 or something and just a burger. The DB burger described in NY Mag was full of fois gras and other fancy stuff...not so much just a burger.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      db bistro's hamburger was described as having a piece of short rib in the center. My friend and I envisioned biting into a big piece of bone when we read the menu. Of course, it was the meat off the short rib, which was very tasty, adding good beefy flavor to the medium(still pink) burger. It reminded me of the debri sandwich from Mama's in New Orleans.
      The hamburger was too tall for the small amount of surface area to eat gracefully. I had to leave the two "stakes" in the burger as stabilizer, and cut the burger into quarters. Still not too effective. The potato souffle that came with was cute, though. It was a hollow potato chip, if a little on the greasy side.

      We didn't get fancy pens to sign as of 1 month ago....

    2. I had the burger. Only $26 at lunch, so if you're budget conscious, go then :-)

      It was great. Sorry, but I'll pay $26 for it again. Hopefully soon.

      12 Replies
      1. re: jbergman

        i guess. if a dollar makes a difference at that level.
        difference between $26 and $27. i would think if they;'re serving it for lunch it would be a few dollars less, maybe around 20 or so.

        1. re: james g.

          All kidding aside, in defense of Boulud, this is not a bona fide hamburger. Only a idiot would charge almost 30 bucks for a typical hamburger and only a bigger idiot would actually buy it. It is a sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs, truffles, and foie gras. Served with great fries. If you deconstructed the burger and gave it a nice plating, you would essentially have a short rib dish adorned with truffles and foie gras with potatoes on the side. If this were the case, I think most would agree that $27 would not be considered an outrage at a nice restaurant in Manhattan. All, in all the db bistro is a nice place and certainly as casual as you make it. My buddy showed up in jeans and a T-shirt and didn't feel or look out of place. Nothing on the dinner menu is over $29 and I think the food certainly can hold it's own with more expensive more established restaurants.

          1. re: jbergman

            I hope you don't mind my joining in. I am a fan of Boulud, both Daniel and Cafe Boulud serve what I think to be really good food but one of these days are we ever going to say enough is enough. Even lower-end restaurants are charging as much as 15-20 dollars for an entree, and I've been feeling recently like the sky is the limit as far as the cost of food. I mean, it might help to think of a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mayonnaise and fries as really a steak dinner with a special sauce, salad and potatoes, but it's not. It's a hamburger with fries, no matter what they stuff the hamburger with. And while I don't doubt at all that the hamburger was delicious at db and while I guess with the addition of both foie gras and truffles merits the heafty price tag, I think the cost of eating out in NYC in general is getting quite inflated. And this more general problem is what I consider somewhat problematic. Better quality food and more experienced chefs who love the food and take time to prepare it costs more than a slice of pizza on the corner, but I guess I'm just ranting at this point. I feel like the bar keeps being raised and so when we're charged 33 dollars for an entree, 19 dollars for a foie gras appetizer and 14 dollars for a glass of white Bordeaux (which I was recently at Gotham Bar and Grill) we're not surprised. Yet when the whole bill is added up including dessert, tax, and tip, we pay $93 for one person in a restaurant that is not even Daniel or Jean Georges...though the food is wonderful!

            Can anyone else relate? Despite my complaining, I love all of these restaurants dearly...Thanks! Emily

            1. re: Emily

              You both make great points.

              Its clearly not just a hamburger and NYC is setting new ceilings on what folks will pay for food.

              The rest of my thoughts may not be very chowhoundish and pertain more to the economy then about food. However, I remain surprized that restaurants in NY are still opening with million dollar price tags and $30 plus entrees. I wonder if these plans were put into place when the economy was thriving and too much money was already dumped to stop them now?

              1. re: Emily

                I agree that the cost of eating out has become almost too much, but I still make the most of my "corporate account". What I am starting to find annoying is the expectation of a 20% plus tip. Not wishing to bring on the wrath of servers everywhere, but it has to stop somewhere. Dinner the other night, two people, good steakhouse, very nice dinner - total check was $145.00 Now I am "supposed" to add another $29 for the tip. The service was fine, nothing special, and nothing terrible. But that is a hefty wack added to the check. And one that I am no longer happy to pay.
                Before anyone jumps in with "if you can't afford the tip, stay home" - I CAN afford the tip - but the expectation of a given 20% (and more) is starting to annoy.

                1. re: Gini

                  If you're spending $145 on the meal, does it matter whether you leave $22 (a 15% tip) or the $29 you're lamenting. It's relatively insignifigant when you are spending for one meal what constitutes some peoples' weekly food budget.

                  I think 20% is a reasonable guideline for average-to-good service in a city like ours. Dismal service rates 15-16% and stellar service can convince me to bump it up to 25-30%, lovingly.

                  If you lived in Wichita or Albuquerque, I'm sure 15% would be considered most generous, but you wouldn't be availed the diversity, quality and professionalism you are in New York.

                  1. re: Shaner

                    Well we are back into this again - all I can say is that I am much much more inclined to tip generously -well above the twice-the-tax benchmark - in more humble restaurants where the tips are smaller than in upscale places, where the tips are already well up in the double digits and the bill, especially for wine and drinks (which the accepted wisdom told us until quite recently, were used to be excluded from the tip base)is substantial. And i think many other patrons probably feel the same.

                    1. re: Shaner

                      I will spend money to eat delicious, inventive food at a fancy restaurant, but I do not feel it necessary to give 30 percent ever and I resent the fact that giving that much of a tip is sometimes expected of me. THAT is the problem. Although I suppose some could say that I am paying for the experience, and I suppose one could argue that the wait staff and the bread person are part of the experience. Not that I don't have any sympathy for wait-persons; I have been in their position. The main thing I have a problem with is the inflated prices in general, in whatever form they come in, tips, tax, drinks...Emily

                      1. re: Shaner

                        wow 15 % for dismal service. that'll show em!

                        1. re: Shaner

                          I think the annoying part is there isn't usually a higher level of professionalism outside of the restaurant's featuring the "new american" style of service ala Danny Meyer. Just because the entrees are more expensive why should the tip go up. It takes the same amount of work on the server's part. Luckily I don't go out that often to expensive places and I always tip generously sometimes when it's not even earned out of obligation.

                2. re: jbergman

                  I'm less surprized that you (or I for that matter) would buy a $26 or $27 hamburger as I am that Daniel would sell one. I realize that may not make sense since as a business owner, he should sell anything he thinks people will buy at the highest price he can get away with.
                  However, as my own business owner, I'm really trying to be sensitive that the economy has effected most of us. This is not a time to flaunt, even if you have the money. A hamburger to me represents a staple of value. Maybe, a $27 frois gars (sic) sandwich makes more sense. OK I'm done being petty.

                  1. re: Shoeman

                    It has foie gras in it, assuming that's what you're referring to. And it's quite delicious, regardless of it being called a "burger". It is certainly not just a "burger."