New York Dining Was Better Than Ever in 2015

You’re skeptical about the state of dining in New York. I understand. Danny Meyer, one of our wealthiest and most successful restaurateurs, is relocating his flagship Union Square Cafe to avert a massive rent increase. The long-awaited One World Trade, attracting thousands with some of the city’s best views, debuted this summer with some of the city’s worst food. Beloved neighborhood spots like Kin Shop and Cafe Edison have closed, while exorbitant, average steakhouses (and Tao) remain packed. At the fanciest bastions of gastronomy, the cost of a fully-loaded meal for two is inching towards $1,000, while a pizza for one at Franny’s, after tax, tip, and an Obamacare-related price increase, now runs $28. And a single good cocktail, often $15 or more, is increasingly more expensive than the average hourly wage of our city’s line cooks. Think about that: 60 minutes of hard labor won’t pay for a martini. So imagine what a $2,700 studio, the Manhattan average, sounds like to a garde manger making $2,300 a month.

It’s unlikely, even as New York’s minimum wage rises, that an hourly cook (or a salaried sous chef) will ever be able to afford that apartment. It’s also improbable that Minetta, amid this era of sky-high beef prices, will ever lower its $62 strip steak back to $37. But hospitality pay is slowly improving. And even as costs surge, the restaurant community is finding ways to offer stunning food at reasonable prices. This past year or so has seen an infinite supply of epicurean awesomeness, from affordable tasting menu venues like Semilla, to kick-ass food halls like UrbanSpace, to white-hot fast-casual concepts like Fuku.

It’s all enough to dampen your skepticism and make you wonder whether this is one of the most exciting times to be a chef, waiter, or diner since the mid-aughts, when April Bloomfield and David Chang started championing a more accessible and laid-back approach to ambitious dining. So allow me to explain how 2015 bodes well for the future of dining in our great city. Let me tell you why the state of eating out in New York is STRONG.

Read the full article here:
New York Dining Was Better Than Ever in 2015


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