Saddened by Ye Waverly Inn becoming another costly pretentious spot...$55 Mac&cheese!
The piece in the Daily News pretty much drove home that Graydon Carter et al have made the Waverly Inn into another overpriced touristy hell. Having grown up on Bank Street, I have fond memories of winter nights by the fireplace there, enjoying fried chicken and mashed. God it was good. Now, you'll get mac & cheese with truffles and you'll pay for it, by god! The portions don't look particularly generous either. The message is "pay our lease". I feel many of these over-priced restaurants are actually asking for charity. They insinuate that they can't make a living selling decent portions at fair prices, so essentially expect you to support their ineptness by paying exorbitant prices for a snack. I hate being served a plate with a smattering of food on it, especially when it's priced as if it were several courses.
To oversimplify, I think it's not much ineptness as an insane real estate market coupled with an insatiable quest for "new" things and comparatively exotic, and certainly expensive, ingredients. A restaurant with any pretensions to "fine dining" (and many without) can easily get slammed -- and consigned to ignominy -- for having a "boring, plebeian" menu or using "average" ingredients.
To boil a lot of social and economic issues down into a single statement: as long as people come, they will build it. And insane prices notwithstanding, people do keep coming. In droves. And just as there's always someone willing to pay "THAT" much on rent or apartments, there are plenty of people willing to pay $55 for mac & cheese whether because they really like it and happen to have that kind of disposable income, or because it's one of today's more common forms of conspicuous consumption, or a variety of other reasons...
A friend and I stopped in for a drink one night. Two TINY vodka and grapefruits: $28.
Yup. $14 each.
Did I mention tiny?
While we're at it. I didn't feel safe standing in the bar area with its low ceiling and a bunch of overserved not-as-pretty-as-they-think-they-are people with open flames (gas fireplace) and no fire sprinklers. How do they get away with that? Where is the Department of Buildings when these places get renovated?
"It's also a waste of truffles. It's like adding a cup of Coca-cola to the finest XO cognac... which some people do, I Believe, in parts of Asia."
Not at all. Coke or 7Up ruins any liquor - be it a $30 liquor or a $100 liquor. You might as well use the cheapest stuff that won't actually set fire to your throat if you're interested in taste. But that's also an extreme example of undenied conspicuous consumption, a concept which most cultures acknowledge, if not by that name per se, unlike Americans who insist that no, they just really _want_ to spend that much money on stuff that shows off their economic status. We spend a lot of time and money keeping up with the Joneses, but we usually spend even more time denying that we're doing it. (shrug)
Truffles on mac & cheese may be over the top, but it'd taste good (personally I don't think truffles are worth current prics, so I've never had this mac & cheese thing.) Needless to say, we're not talking about mac-in-the-box...