Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
May 3, 2013 05:33 AM

Why we should embrace fine dining - excellent piece in Eatocracy

Great, well written item from John Winterman the maitre d' at Daniel in NYC.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is where he lost me.

    "2. Fine dining is affordable luxury
    Yes, when you start looking at check averages that hover above $200 per person before tax and tip, you start doing math in your head.........."

    1 Reply
    1. re: grampart

      Yeah, I've done some "fine dining" and will do so again, but that piece just, shall we say, left a "bad taste" in my mouth.

    2. So… dinner at his restaurant costs less than a Ferrari or a private jet. It's downright cheap if you think about it like that. Many rich and famous people have eaten there, and they weren't even celebrating a big occasion — so why can't you (yes, you) do the same? The memories will last forever (for one thing, you'll get a monthly reminder from your credit card company).

      1. Maybe it's a snarky morning, but I saw a lot of name dropping and something that sounded like a "1%'s 1st World Problems" list.

        My beef tongue in pork cheek list of 5 reasons for embracing fine dining:

        1. Forget the limits of your vocation. "Life is an occasion." An excellent dinner is more rewarding than paying off the nonluxury car you bought in the last century.

        2. Fine dining is an attainable luxury. That's what credit cards are for, right? So what if you pay 20% interest and the $80 an hour dinner costs twice that by the time you pay it off. No credit card/ available credit? Of course you have an AMEX?

        3. Fine dining has more than one price point. You don't have to have an Entire dinner. A glass of wine, some artfully presented cheese and crackers -- if that's all the fine dining experience you think you can afford, you should still do it, because it's Fine Dining.

        4. Why be oblivious? ALL the famous dress up for fine dining, even sports stars and rockers. Pay attention. Join the crowd.

        5. Sensory devotion. Those maitre d's at Daniel deserve the same glory, respect, and paparazzi hounding as the chefs in the back.

        The thing is, I really wanted to read an approachable, well crafted argument for fine dining tailored to the people who don't think they can/should.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Kris in Beijing

          Live within your means, plan and save for the future. Spend your disposable income however you think it will give the most satisfaction.

          Might be fine dining for some.

          1. re: kengk

            Yep, KGK--
            See-- that's what I wanted, plus some encouragement for those for whom fine dining has never been on the radar.

            1. re: Kris in Beijing

              I suppose the first question would be why it has never been "on the radar."

              Here is kind of a random thought that explains to an extent my willingness to spend more for meals.

              Years ago we took our annual weeks vacation and generally eating out is a large part of the reason for going. This particular year I was worried about money, don't really even remember why. So, we decided to reduce our dining expense. At the end of the week we had not saved that much money and we had a considerably less pleasant vacation.

              I'm not talking about foregoing a place like Daniel and eating at McDonalds instead. We probably reduced our cost by 30% and our enjoyment by 80%

          2. re: Kris in Beijing

            Maybe that's another thread we should start- what would you tell those who didn't think they could/should experience fine dining?

            1. re: hyacinthgirl

              I agree. In fact, there is already quite a lot of thoughtful discussion on CH that outshines this Eatocracy piece. The question seems to come up regularly in the International boards, for example, since there is often a big gap between the big-budget vacationers and well-to-do expats, and the rest of us.

              Here are some previous threads that are sort of on this topic:

              "A question for those that spend a lot eating out."

              "You get what you pay for"

              "Why justify about the cost of a very expensive lunch/dinner?"

              1. re: DeppityDawg


                I posted before researching, and 2 of your 3 are pretty current-- from only about 8 months ago!!!

                I think the 2005 thread could be "refreshed," though.

          3. I'm really not sure what the intended purpose of that article was.

            I have and will continue to embrace fine dining, however not for any of the reasons, or perhaps, explanations as given by that smug @ass.

            1. "Break it down per hour: if you hit $250 per person you will most likely be dining for three-plus hours, roughly $80 per hour. You cannot get a spa treatment for that, nor a lawyer, nor a Ferrari, nor a weekend in St. Bart’s."

              Actually, at $80 an hour times two people times 2 days is $7680 for the weekend and yes, you can have a weekend in St Barts for that money. Flights, hotel, and meals included.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Bkeats

                But I wouldn't go to St. Barts for the weekend if somebody paid me $7,680 to go. Different people do and should make different choices about what gives them value for their money.

                1. re: kengk

                  I wasn't saying to go to SBH. I was pointing out the value comparison based purely on $$ was false. Simply pointing out that you can go there for $80/hour. You really wouldn't go to SBH if someone paid you nearly $8k but you would spend $250 pp on dinner?

                  1. re: Bkeats

                    I truly would not. Nothing against St. Barts, I have "issues."

                    I think value is in the eye of the beholder. Some things are more cut and dried in that regard than others.

                    1. re: kengk

                      I agree that value is in the "eye of the beholder". But getting excited to see Roger Waters dressed up? I mean it's not like it was David Gilmour.

                      1. re: kengk

                        I'm curious as to whether you have been and had a not good experience or if you have an issue with the image of the island.

                        I've had some of the best meals of my life on the island and its not at the tony places like Le Gaiac or Sand Bar. Most favorite place is basically a beach bar - La Gloriette. Nothing like have some cold beer with accras on the beach.

                        1. re: Bkeats

                          Nothing whatever to do with St. Barts, I really have no impression of the place. Borderline agoraphobic.