Most $$ Expensive Joint in Town?
Cut is hardly the Most Expensive Experience in LA. Ivy is horrible at any price, nothing is good, except the Star watching.
Cut's Not Cheap by any means. It's definitely in the low Top 10, based on Power(truffles,caviar,kobe,blue fin, Tasting Menus around town. Best Kobe Steak is still at URASAWA, unbeatable!
Cut 100-140 ea
Spago 130-200 ea
Providence 120-180 ea Chef's Table
La Cachette 130-160 ea Whole Nine Yards
Valentino 125- 225 ea Primi Menu
L'Orangerie 125-200 ea
Melisse 135-200 ea
Water Grill 120-160 ea
Il Grano 120-200
Georgio Baldi 100-200+
La botte (pick a #)
Opus (130 to ?) 31 course menu, best deal in LA!
NOT INCLUDING WINE. The wine is normally one and half times more than the food. A single fine bottle (brought) can easily be 500- plus. On a wine list 1000-, plus. If your lucky enough to be on the Harlan mailing list it's 350-ea from 200- last year. A restaurant will mark that up 2-3 times.
When you request a Special tasting Menu at Water Grill it's in the Price range listed, plus 4 hrs. Look back at my Posts on Water Grill in 03, 04 and you'll see the 10-12 course TM's.
C'mon Russkar...wine is 1.5 times food cost!?! Well, sure, if you order Harlan or Latour, but MOST people don't, and order in the $50ish range...even at $100/bottle, most people don't order more than one and a half, so thats $75pp.
I don't know of ANYONE who orders expensive wine in LA restaurants unless they're on expense accounts-this town is BYOB heaven!
As for op, I think that a la carte (no special tasting menus), CUT is definitely among the most expensive places in town.
Expensive is a relative term. Many wine folks do not consider a $100-$150 bottle an expensive bottle. Many who do not drink that stuff on a regular basis or have a different set of experience would consider that notion silly. It really is a highly relative and subjective issue.
For the most part, we are very fortunate in LA that most restaurants (especially compared to other big cities - other than SF - in the US) have a very open corkage policy. Allowing wine at all... many/most places in NYC don't even do that.
I usually bring high end bottles of wine with me... things at the level of a Harlan, First/Super Second Growth Bordeaux, or a Grand Cru Burg. We also almost ALWAYS buy a bottle of a higher end white or Champagne from the house - usually spending $100-$150 minimum on wine with the house. When doing so, most LA restaurants are very pleased and welcome our own bottles.
Our general rule of thumb is to buy around one bottle from the house for every 2-3 diners. A four top would cause us to buy 1-2 bottles, depending on the dinner, length of time, etc...
We have brought bottles to nearly all of the restaurants listed on Russkar's list. Usually with open arms from the house.
I guess now you kind of know a couple of folks who do order "expensive" bottles at restaurants in LA with their own money. :). We've ordered $500+ bottles on more occasions than I can remember. But as restaurant wine list prices go, believe it or not LA isn't THAT bad... other towns can be far worse.
I do agree that CUT is at the higher end of pricing, but there are several/many that are more expensive.
You can make pretty much any high end place the most expensive by ordering lots of Cristal and caviar. And you can keep the bill down at some expensive places by closely monitoring choices and avoiding much or any alcohol. The real question is not which is the most expensive place in town, but which place enables more people to throw caution to the wind and splurge regardless of cost considerations. Patina for example is an expensive spot, but it seems stiff and I don't get the desire to go crazy there (much less go there). Puck seems to have a talent for relaxing people and letting them spend their money. The fact is that as high as some of the prices discussed here are LA remains a relative bargain compared to NYC, SF, London, Paris, Tokyo, etc. New Orleans is THE bargain city for good food but it's in transition now so who knows what the future will bring.
Cut does kind of add up, even if you don't order caviar, Latour or the $120 kobe steak. Most of the appetizers are in the high teens or twenties, and the steaks hover around $50. As long as you're in for that, you're probably going to toss in a garnish or two - bone marrow! - and a sauce: the chimichurri is divine. The sides are all but mandatory, especially the potato cake; figure one or so of those per person at $10-$20. Wines are not cheap, although to her credit, the sommelier usually ends up recommending a wine from the lower end of her list. (Love those malbecs.)Desserts are high. And if you are with a largish party, I suspect you're going to end up going in on a kobe steak or one of the marvelous lobsters to split six ways or whatever to taste.
I have never gotten out of Cut for less than $200 per person, which is a lot of scratch however you slice it. I suppose you could do it for half that, but I don't see the point of going to a place like that in order to feel deprived.