My inlaws were in for the weekend, and took my wife and I to dinner at the Sea Grill in Rock Center. I've been there for lunch and dinner for work, and have always found the fish there to be truly excellent (though the space is more than a bit cold).
So Saturday night we all go to dinner, and as I'm waiting to check my coat, I notice their normal menu has been replaced with a "Holiday Prix Fixe" menu of 3 courses for -- get this -- $78 per person. $78! Food there, a la carte, should run you $50 per person, so $78 is more than a 50% markup. We're beyond Gramercy Tavern/La Caravelle category here, and as much as I enjoy Sea Grill, these places it is not.
I complained to the maitre d as soon as we walked in, but he kept insisting that someone must have told me when we made the reservations. However they didn't - nor did anyone mention this either of the 2 times we called to confirm.
After a bit of back and forth, and me telling them that I used to eat there a lot for work but wouldn't anymore, one of the brighter managers came over and said, "Sir, we apoligize for not telling you, and would be happy to accomodate you with an a la carte menu tonight."
So in the end they fixed it but the whole episode left a bad taste in my mouth. The inlfationary prix fixe menu seems unclassy, and a transparent way to dupe some extra dough from tourists who don't know they're paying $78 for a $50 meal.
On the plus side, had two really excellent burgers this weekend, one at Tavern on Jane, the other at Hurley's on W. 48th. Hurleys gets the nod for better fries, but both places deliver a really flavorful and juicy burger, never ever overcooked somehow, with great sauteed onions and a nonconflicting roll. No ketchup required. These are my favorite burger places in Manhattan right now -- both are far more manageable than Corner Bistro, have as good or better burgers, and better beer selections.