The Boston Globe’s Scott Haas has a bone to pick with Boston-area restaurateurs: the $40 entrée.
In “Raw Deal,” he looks into the provenance of some of the meats that are hitting the ceiling of restaurant prices. What he finds when he investigates Rialto’s $43 steak may surprise you: The meat comes from the rustic-sounding Pineland Farms Natural Meats, which is not an actual family farm but a conglomeration of more than 150 of them. The meat is advertised as “grass-fed,” but it’s finished with 150 days of grain. Most shocking of all for a $43 steak: It isn’t even Prime grade, but Choice.
Damning, but not as damning as (New Yorker, btw) Anthony Bourdain’s withering assessment of Boston restaurant prices:
I think they’re charging high prices because they can—serving food to people who are grateful to have what they consider big city food. I think what’s going on in Boston is a classic example of chefs working in a place that’s not yet a national restaurant city, not by a stretch. ... And I can really understand why the chefs are charging so much: If prices come down, they lose their mystique as chefs. They’re reluctant to abandon their pomposity, expense, and pretense.
But it’s not really a surprise to see entrées in Boston so high. After all, as USA Today notes, “When it comes to entree prices at restaurants across the nation, 40 really is the new 30.”