Well, the big “food” trend is the increase in cocktail prices. Have you ever paid $18 to $20 for a two ounce pour? If so, you’re a trendsetter. Restaurants in East Coast cities have taken the time during the winter doldrums to figure out a great business plan: Charge more for a product that has a long shelf life, one that can sit there all winter when the restaurant is half empty (or half full, depending on how you see things) due to storms and cold.
It’s long been the case that the price you pay for a glass of wine equals the wholesale cost of the bottle, but this idea of $20 a drink? That’s new. Do the math. A 32 ounce bottle of good rye will cost the restaurant about $28. At $20 an ounce, that bottle is now worth $640. Not bad, right?
So will the profits go into providing better food?
You’ll see all sorts of names for things on the menu: Humane, grass fed, sustainable, etc. But what does that have to do with taste? Nothing. The fish is often branzino, monk, Canadian turbot, etc. The meat? Pork and choice beef. The vegetables have exotic names and, like strippers with exotic names, their backgrounds are ordinary.
What’s happening is the Bar-ification of American restaurants. Folks who write about restaurants would be doing us all a favor if they chose as policy not to write about any place that served burgers, fried anything, and…$20 drinks.