February 29, 2004

My Comments on NY Restaurant Prices, etc.

A reader asked about my comments in another post a while ago, about NY restaurant prices, as well as prices of other things, compared to the Bay Area.

My response:

Well, my experience is that each time I've visited New York in the last year or two, I'm surprised again by how reasonably priced everything is. SF, and the Bay Area in general, is just so expensive. So mid-priced NY restaurants, like Peasant or Bond St. have excellent food and wine, and for two we spent $60 and $80 respectively including drinks, food, tip and tax, for dinner. We were shocked, because the quality of food, presentation, quality of wine, were such that comparable Bay Area restaurants would have been $150 and that's what we expected to spend before the bill arrived.

It’s become regular here, as of the last five years, for high end restaurants to be $250 for lunch for two, and $600 for two for dinner (Masa’s, Aqua, etc.) and the accommodation in our minds of that has led to mid-priced places being half that for two. Also, when I shop at Food Emporium in NY and the farmer's markets in Union Square and Tribeca, the prices for the same organic ingredients I purchase here (I cook quite a bit) are 30-50% less and yet of equal quality, variety and interest. And low priced lunch-type places are also less, though by maybe a dollar or two. Only drinking is more, and it's significantly more in the mid and low priced places, though equally high in the high end places.

So while these are anecdotal examples, my own experience is that I can eat for significantly less in NY than in SF but still have excellent quality. That’s not to say that food in NY is say, the same as Iowa and therefore actually cheap. But it’s shocking to me that NY costs less now than SF, in many other categories as well, and that’s why I still marvel over this each time I visit (in the past year, several two week trips, renting a place in Tribeca, or Chelsea, or Westside). I grew up thinking that NY was supposed to be the most expensive place in the country, always. And certainly it’s possible to spend enormous sums in NY. But 5 years ago, I think SF turned into Manhattan, and so Manhattan is now a relief, a step or two down in price and speed, people move slower, they don’t rush as much as in the Bay Area. I just really enjoy working in NY verses SF, because it’s a little more relaxing and less expensive. That’s not to say that everyone and everything here or there falls into these generalizations, but I see these differences between SF and NY more and more.

So I that’s what I meant in those comments in my post.

Posted by Mary Hodder at February 29, 2004 11:41 AM | TrackBack

Chalk one up for Manhattan!

Posted by: Pernicious at February 29, 2004 03:44 PM