Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?



I want to go to Masa in New York. I am broke and a meal there could cost anywhere from $500 to $800. Walking in the door costs a minimum of $400. I can't afford it but I would still pay. Food is my passion and what I spend most of my money on. And I want to spend it at Masa.

Why Masa? Not sure actually. I've read much about it and the skills of chef Masa Takayama. It's appears guaranteed to blow my mind. Anthony Bourdain highly recommends it. Everybody else has equally high praises. The only complaint is the price, which most people tend to conclude is worth the experience. But is it worth it? Would I, an average kid in Austin, get a meal worth eating rice and beans for months?

I don't know the answer. Part of me knows that I can still get fantastic food for under $100, which is still a lot of money. New York is packed with great restaurants, grand and small. I'm visiting friends there in February and have quickly turned it into a food pilgrimage. That is exactly how I am trying to rationalize spending a paycheck on a single meal when I am having trouble making ends meet.

I'm going insane with indecision. Not because I doubt it would be worth it; I don't know if I want to pay that much for anything right now. I'll let you know what happens, regardless of where I end up going.

*Photo courtesy of Peter Bond.

6 comments:

Carrie said...

An intriguing question. I’m often posing the same one to myself. I just got back from my own food pilgrimage to New York, and would not spend the extra money. Would you enjoy the meal if you were worried about the money stress it might lead to later? Probably not. And for that price, you could have so many great food experiences for the price of one meal.

James Francis said...

Carrie, I agree. I think I have decided to put off Masa. I'll go when I can afford it more.

nhallfreelance said...

THe only thing I question myself about is this: will Masa still be around when you can "afford it"? And, quite frankly, you'll almost certainly never be able to afford it, in any real way. Not that I'm trying to encourage you to go for it. There's no way I would. Just thinking.

James Francis said...

I think affording it would mean that going there wouldn't push you into the red.

coffee and queso said...

Foolishly, it hadn't occurred to me ever to spend more than maybe $150 for two EVER on a meal until recently talking with a self-proclaimed foodie who has spent more time in New York than I. Whether you end up a Masa or not, I'm look forward to living vicariously through your trip! (Love your blog; thanks for adding me to your blogroll.)

Fresh Local and Best said...

Perhaps you can start with a visit to Bar Masa, which is on the same floor as Masa at Columbus Circle. There several of the same intriguing items on Bar Masa's menu as on Masa's, the formal restaurant. My husband and I went to Bar Masa recently to celebrate my birthday. We had an incredible 10 course meal, which included a succulent lobster roll, caviar with toro, maitake with shaved truffles among others. The bill, which includes sake, totaled a smidge under $500. Indeed it is expensive, but not as expensive as Masa, the formal restaurant, but for me it was just as special.