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Mar 27, 2009 08:01 AM

Vetri anniversary dinner - how much?

Hi everyone,
I made a reservation at Vetri for my parents 30th anniversary. I've never been there myself, how much should I get a gift certificate for? I want to make sure it's plenty to cover everything plus a bottle of wine, tax and tip and I want them to be able to order as many courses/dishes as they want without having to worry about the menu prices.

Do they do the tasting menu on weeknights or is that just the weekends? This is for a Monday night. Thanks for your help!

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  1. I'd say $400 is a good starting point, but I've only been there once, and ordered a la carte. For your reference, my wife and I had two apps, two pastas, two entrees, two desserts, a bottle of wine, and two dessert wines. If I remember correctly we spent about $375.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      Holy crap, really? How much was your wine, lol!

      1. re: mandyk83

        That's a good estimate, even with one of their lower priced wines. Keep in mind that the tip is going to be 20%. So let's say if everything else came to $300 (2 starters, 2 antipasti, 2 pastas, 2 entrees will come to around $185 and then you'd need to add for coffee, dessert, possible dessert wine, possible cocktail to start, plus the wine for the meal), your final cost would be $360. The service is fantastic so 20% is very reasonable. They really should each order one from each of their categories. If they each get something different, they can taste the other person's dish so it's like trying double.

        They do carry wines in the $50 or so range that are excellent.

        On the weekend they only do the tasting menu and it is expensive. If they're going on Monday night, depending on what they order, it will cost less than it would on the weekends.

        It is a meal of dreams and is a great present for your parents!

        1. re: Carole

          Perhaps not a question specific to this thread, but can a gift certificate go towards the tip?

        2. re: mandyk83

          I don't remember exactly, but it was in the neighborhood of $70-$80, definitely towards the lower end of their list (which is huge). I do remember the wine list having more affordable options than I expected, I think there were quite a few bottles in the $60 range, maybe a few less than that but I can't remember exactly. The sommelier is a great guy and he doesn't seem to make much of a distinction between people ordering a $60 bottle vs. someone ordering a $600 bottle.

          If you check out the menu you can make a decent guess:

          I guess it depends on how much they would normally order at a nice restaurant. If they each get just one app and a larger plate, that's $50 per person. If you really want them to be able to order whatever they want, it could be much, much higher. The less expensive of the two tasting menus is still $115 per person, so if they both get that and split one of the less-expensive bottles of wine, you're looking at around $300 + $20 tax + $60 tip.

      2. My friends did the wine and tasting menu and spent $500 for 2.

        1 Reply
        1. re: saturninus

          My husband and I had our last anniversary dinner there and unbeknownst to us they had dropped the smaller tasting menu option. The web site still listed it, but they said they only did the grande. So we weren't happy about it but didn't have much of a choice really. We're not such big eaters so we weren't interested in getting even more food.

          I did the wine pairing, my DH had 2 glasses of wine (no bottle).

          Best meal of our lives. Hands down.

          I think our final bill was around $450. Way too much money for us to spend for one meal. And had we known about the menu change we would have cancelled entirely or moved our reservation to a weekday. But even though this is months later, I still can remember everything we had. It was amazing, and I'm sure, not to be repeated.

        2. If your plan is to send your parents there for dinner by themselves, I would suggest that you call the restaurant ahead of time and make arrangements for everything to be charged to your credit card, rather than go the gift certificate route. At those prices, they should be extremely accommodating.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Vladimir Estragon

            I second this recommendation. I worked as a server at a high-end place for a number of years and this was always easier than the guessing-at-the-gift-certificate route. I would imagine that a place with Vetri's reputation is set up to accomodate this type of request.

            Hope they enjoy! Vetri is still on my wishlist...

            1. re: LPhila

              Having been to Vetri a number of times, I think ordering strategically is the best option. Clearly, this won't work if you're paying for your parents meal without them, but now when me and my girlfriend go to eat we can eat well for $150 including tip. We get 1 or 2 apps, usually the cauliflower flan and maybe the special crudo, both order pastas, and split a dessert and an affordable bottle of wine. We forego the entrees, because while the veal, goat, and fish are delicious, they ain't worth 50+ dollas. The pastas are the best, most filling, and most affordable items of the menu, and they are all incredible. Anyway, using this ordering strategy my girlfriend and I can patronize Vetri more like once a month, as opposed to once in our lives.

            2. re: Vladimir Estragon

              I did this for friends several years ago - gave Vetri my AmEx, told them the guests should never see the bill and to include a 20% tip. It was great and Vetri was great - The guests didn't even use the gift cert for months and it worked seemlessly!

            3. Holey moley.

              Don't get me wrong - I don't mind spending well for a good meal, an Italian by blood who loves Italian food for its beauty in simplicity, what is it about Vetri's that justifies some of the prices on the menu? (My fiance and I have talked about going there, some day, but finally looking at the website menu prices I'm a lot less inclined to ever do so, especially in our current economy...)

              11 Replies
              1. re: sockii

                There is no simple answer to is the cost worth it as it's all subjective. What is justified to one may be ludicrous to another. The best answer may come from Marc Vetri himself. See page 4 in the below link where he discusses the spinach gnocchi.

                1. re: sockii

                  I know it seems insane, and yes more so given the current state of affairs, but it is more than just a meal. The service, the selection of ingredients, the service - we spent 4 hours with the tasting menu 2 weeks ago, I just don't know how to describe it, but yes, I suppose it is subjective.

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    I second the service and ingredients... It's not just the food you're paying for, you're also paying for the time (knowledge, expertise, craft) of a whole staff of talented people.

                    how much would you have to pay a lawyer for a 4-hour meeting? I'd rather pay Vetri.

                    1. re: urbanfabric

                      Is it worth it? We are driving down to Washington from NY this weekend, and I added on an extra day so we could stop in Philadelphia in order to eat at Vetri again. The grand tasting menu was simply one of the best meals I have ever had, anywhere...starting with the multiple amuse course to the dessert, everything was just right-the service, wine pairings, atmosphere. Yes, it is expensive, but you can see and taste the value in everything they do.

                      1. re: David W

                        We has another wonderful meal at Vetri this last week. From the welcoming glass of Cava to the espresso, everything was perfect. I can't recall it all, but they served these little rolls with lardo draped over them, house-cured venison, asparagus flan, poached halibut, spinach gnocchi, pig foot ravioli, skate milanese, Berkshire pork loin and sausage, and a mix of classic Italian desserts. Each dish was pure pleasure, and the wine pairings were superb.
                        Special mention to a 2005 Jermann Vintage Tunina that was paired with the Skate.
                        Two grand tasting menus, two wine pairings: pre-tip total $486.90. No doubt, one of the more expensive meals I've had, but also one of the best. Such a great blend of simple yet complex food, relaxed yet correct service...worth every penny (and worth skipping meals out for a while to pay for it.)

                      2. re: urbanfabric

                        OH GREAT comparison! I'll pay Marc anytime!

                        1. re: Bigley9

                          i was not too impressed with the meal. i feel the food at Modo Mio has more flavor......

                          1. re: lbtbrett

                            And I have not returned to Modo Mio because I was not pleased with my meal. Different tastes

                            1. re: Bigley9

                              I agree with you Bigley9. I've been to Vetri once (a pre-Valentine's celebration this year) and Modo Mio once. I found Modo Mio to be pretty average, food-wise, and service-wise I will say that it is one of the few restaurants (if not the only one) where I considered walking out thanks to the fairly rude and unresponsive service (we were basically ignored for the first 30 minutes we were there). Vetri, on the other hand, offered impeccable service that was not intimidating. We asked for a suggestion from the sommelier for a glass of wine, and rather than giving us the most expensive option on the menu, as I think other places might do, he found us a reasonably priced option that worked beautifully with the food it was paired with. I think that our total before tip for two people was about $125, and I should explain that it was so low because we only ordered two drinks (I am a non-drinker) and we each ordered an appetizer, a pasta as a main course, and a dessert. While the portions weren't huge and we might have been able to eat more food, the richness of the dishes allowed us to leave feeling happy. I would definitely return and would, without hesitance, recommend it to anyone. I do think that you can get out there "reasonably inexpensively" if you watch how much you drink and don't order a "ton" of food, but I also think that it is worth the splurge if you want to get a tasting menu or lots of courses. Oh, and as an aside since I don't think this has come up yet...I am a vegetarian. I found Modo Mio to be rather unaccomodating about this (though in all fairness I didn't call ahead so I am partially to blame) since even though most of their pastas/small plates were vegetarian their main courses were not, whereas Vetri could easily identify what was and was not vegetarian, and were willing to make almost anything on the menu vegetarian if this was a possibility. And, unlike some other restaurants, I actually trusted that the food would in fact be vegetarian if that is what they claimed it to be! Thanks!

                  2. This may be a stupid question, but what is the correct pronunciation of Vetri?

                    Is it Vee-tree? Or Veh-tree?

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: Bigley9

                        I thought it was Vet-tree. But then I'm lousy at pronouncing names. Check out this pod cast interview.

                        1. re: oysterspearls

                          Thanks to both...the podcast confirms veh-tree