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Sep 28, 2012 12:17 PM

Tasting Menus--are they worth the price?

The best tasting menus run about $150 per person. If you go as a couple, it could run well into the mid to upper hundreds for some. Do you go, have you been? Was it worth the money? Let's assume it's a top notch place. You can get a lot of great food for that price. Were you happy w/ your experience?

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  1. Yes, many times. Like any dining experience, some were better than others. When its good, its outstanding. At many top tier places, by the time you start with various amuses and get through the petite four, you will have gone through 10-15 courses. Even though the dishes maybe small, have that many and you're totally stuffed. Is it worth it? Always subjective but in my experience, largely yes. Add in some great wine pairings and 4 hours can fly by in a food and alcohol blur. Did that most recently at EMP before the menu change and it was fabulous.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Bkeats

      Thanks. The one I have reservations for is 21 courses so we'll be there for a long time. Maybe I could think of it as dinner and show. It might just be one of those bucket list food things to do.

      1. re: chowser

        That's the way to think of it. Your dinner is the night's entertainment.

        1. re: chowser

          Is that Table 21 at Volt?
          (If so, it is worth it and a good value ($121 before taxes & service/tip etc or wine))

          1. re: huiray

            Yes, but the price is now $150. A 7 course dinner is only $95. Is it worth 50% more than the 7 course dinner?

            1. re: chowser

              Aha, the price has gone up - I haven't eaten there in the last year or so...

              Assuming the tasting menu is similar in concept, execution and substance to what I knew it as - Yes, it is worth it in my opinion. If you have one of the single-seating ones (i.e. just that one that night) expect it to take about 3 1/2 + hours. Don't forget to pet the two cast-metal flying pigs positioned at the center of the "Table 21" table counter. :-) [There is a story behind those pigs]

              1. re: chowser

                Yes,equal to the increased cost.
                The wine pairings over time have been finessed for even better pairing at Volt.

                1. re: lcool

                  Photo of the wine pairing I got back in June last year. (I also attach a pic of the menu) I requestedt a pairing that last time; the sommelier then served the indicated wines at suitable points in the meal. I asked for a listing which was presented at the end. I think the pairing was $80 or something like that. (On my previous visits to Table 21 it so happened that a pairing was verbally offered which you could accept or not)

                  p.s. to chowser: They should give all diners at Table 21 a copy of the night's menu. Ask for it if they seem to forget. I once stopped some first-time diners from leaving while I got hold of the Hostess and reminded her about the menus.
                  ETA: I guess the uploaded pic of the menu has lost resolution. Look around on CH or elsewhere, you can see what's on the menus reported by others.

                  1. re: huiray

                    Will do--a memory keepsake, other than the few pounds on the hips!

                  2. re: lcool

                    Thanks, good to know from someone who's BTDT.

          2. We have had nothing but wonderful experiences with tasting menus.Adding ones that went well past 10 or 11 items always had one thing maybe not for one of us.Something you wouldn't want more than a taste or bite of.
            Your analogy,"dinner and a show" is nice.It really is THE EVENING,not just food.

            1. I prefer to do a la carte and spend the wine pairing money on a really good bottle. Tasting menus + pairings leave me uncomfortably full and drunk.

              1. Generally, I enjoy tasting menus. There are certain things that I choose not to eat, so if I go to a place that can not, or will not, accommodate my requests, then I don't go with the tasting menu. Beyond the broad strokes, I do not try to manage the kitchen, and want them to put out food that represents what they do best. So while i will ask if they have non-pork options, I will not ask for sauces on the side, or to swap out one ingredient for another.

                In general, I have had no problem having my requests accommodated, and I have had some excellent meals. At one spot I asked for an alternative appetizer, and they offered the foie gras, which was one of the best things I have ever had.

                So yes, it is something I enjoy, it is something I think is worthwhile (in moderation) and something I recommend. It is a great way to try a wider variety of tastes from a menu than you would with a traditional meal.

                1. In general, yes.

                  There have been some places where it was more like an extended prix fixe (like at one certain place in Chicago with an irrationally exuberant fervent following and which has a menu that changes every 3 months or so) where I had less-than-stellar and not-enough-value-for-money experiences.