This is an almost impossible exercise without first establishing some rather dour ground rules: no caviar service, no seafood towers, no add-on lobster tails or lump crab cakes or slabs of foie gras, and no 30-ounce Tomahawk steaks (or absurdist gluttony in general). Also, we’re leaving booze out of the equation, though we don’t advise you to do that. We looked to the city’s rarefied steakhouses, obviously, where a single cut can approach the cost of the prix-fixe meals at Bacchanalia ($95) and Staplehouse ($105), and where we figured the bill easily would top the cost of the chef’s tasting menu at Lazy Betty ($165) and even the premium omakase at Sushi Hayakawa ($185). In calculating the totals of various steakhouse tabs, we allowed an appetizer, soup or salad, the most expensive steak a reasonable human could ingest, a sauce for said steak, a single side, and a dessert. Interestingly, the per-person total, inclusive of tax and tip, was quite similar at Bones ($201 for a meal including a $99, eight-ounce, Japanese A5 Wagyu New York strip), Marcel ($192, with a $79, 22-ounce, dry-aged rib-eye), and Kevin Rathbun Steak ($189, also with a dry-aged rib-eye). But we shouldn’t have even bothered with those calculations, because Chops offers A5 Miyazaki Wagyu for $34 per ounce—which means a meal centered on an eight-ounce steak comes to a cool $437. A5 is the highest-possible ranking in Japan’s uniquely strict meat-grading system, but Miyazaki beef, from a breed of cattle raised in the prefecture of the same name, is among the uppermost echelon of A5 Wagyu—comparable to the revered Kobe. Is it worth paying almost three times the price of the same-sized A5 Wagyu steak at Bones? That’s the $478 question (tax and tip included).
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