DineLA Grace Warning
Just got back from DineLA at Grace. Although you could eat for the listed price, many choices had an additional surcharge ranging from $10-$15. One could argue that this provided more options, but I thought that it was a bit of a "bait and switch". The $34 dinner could easily become a $59 dinner. Two dinners, three glasses of wine and a coffee ended up costing $160 including tip. The service was excellent, the food was good, but I won't be back for a regular dinner. I would be interested to know whether other restaurants also adding surcharges?
Well, being a dineaboutthetown SF vet, I will say this
1) Typically in SF you are forced to order ONE pri-fixe. They choose all the dishes for you and you have no choice. Some restaurants offer two choices, and on rare occasion you get a third choice, but typically, you cant just choose any three dishes you like. That being said, if I were Grace, I would just offer two different pri-fixe meals that would be covered in the $34 asking price.
Anyhow, when I would do dineaboutthetownSF, I would typically spend $100-130. When you add wine, tax and tip, this is what you pay. It is quite normal.
If you were to get 3 glasses of wine (30$), 3 courses (12+24+11)*2 = 96, one coffee ($5), plus tax and tip, gives you $160, or more or less a normal price for the meal. Maybe 10 bucks off, but thats about it.
If you dont get the surcharges, then its 30+5+68+tax+tip = 128.75, which is still close to $160, and thus "expensive"
If you just skipped the wine and the coffee (the best way to "try" cuisine without breaking the bank) its a much more reasonable $85.
Most restaurants make money solely on beverage sales, so once you order decent wine, cost goes WAY up.
It would be nice if you link this thread from the original "DineLA Report: Grace"
So i'm just posting it as a reply - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/484700
And like mordenist said, it's a fairly common practice for the upper-class restaurant tasting menu. You are not force at gun point to make the upgrade decision right? ;-)
This doesn't seem like a problem to me. They did offer the $34 menu published on the website, right? Seems to me that offering a few items in addition to the expected menu for a supplemental charge gives you more choices, and it's still a better deal than going on a regular night.
I certainly think you are being a bit harsh, given that they supplement their menu to allow further choices at still reduced costs. DineLA does not stipulate how many offerings are provided at each course; it only stipulates that there be three courses. Some restaurants only offer one choice (which is not a choice, and is a bit absurd), and some go the extra mile. Grace has done both by providing two offerings without extra charge and then providing additional options with a small supplement. One of its options included without extra charge, the filet, is one of its most expensive menu items. Hardly a bait and switch... All in all, my boyfriend and I greatly enjoyed our meal there without spending over $100.
"The service was excellent, the food was good, but I won't be back for a regular dinner"
considering how rare it is to find both of these things, why would you deny yourself the pleasure of another meal there? sounds to me as though there was a misunderstanding about the protocol for this week, and grace isn't the only restaurant levying supplemental charges. i truly don't believe neal fraser would try to pull a bait & switch on anyone - he's a really good guy.
Two of us mentioned that already, here:
But I don't remember any options with a $15 supplemental charge, just the $10 charge, at least last night. The $34 menu is consistent with what's posted as the Grace menu on the dineLA website, but somewhere in the FAQ's on that website I read that the participating restaurants will have 3 choices for each of the 3 courses, and Grace is not doing that.