Minibar by José Andrés, the twelve-seat Penn Quarter spot that ranks with Chicago's Alinea as one of the country's most celebrated purveyors of avant-garde tasting menus, has raised the price of dinner to $275 (up $25 from last year). It's an increase that some readers might've noticed during yesterday's reporting on Aaron Silverman's upcoming Pineapple and Pearls, which will cost $250 (inclusive of service and wine).
Minibar's price does not include beverage pairings, tax, and tip, which means diners will inevitably spend much more than $275. It remains, by most measures, the city's most expensive restaurant.
Here's what a representative for Andres' ThinkFood Group told Eater about the price hike:
"We regularly conduct reviews of the pricing for all of our restaurants and made the decision to increase the minibar pricing for 2016. We take into account the competitive landscape and rising costs to attract the best talent and source premium ingredients to deliver an extraordinary culinary experience.
The 20-25 course tasting, after tax and 20 percent tip, will now cost $358 for one or $715 for two. Add on wine pairings at $95 and dinner for two rises up to $962. Opt for the $115 pairings and dinner will run $1,014. Those who book seats at the semi-private "Jose's Table," where a longer tasting of 25-30 courses (plus reserve wines) runs $550, will end up spending $1430 for two.
Minibar, in other words, is not just expensive by Washingtonian standards, but by any standard. In fact, judging by starting price, it's now more expensive than any restaurant in New York except for Masa, the country's priciest culinary establishment.
Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York, by comparison, runs $358 after tax, a few dollars less than what diners will spend at Minibar. But to be fair, many will end up spending more at Per Se thanks to its luxury-ingredient supplements like foie gras ($30) or black truffles ($125).
Is Minibar a BUY, HOLD, OR SELL at these prices? Share in the comments, and kindly note that an OpenTable search shows decent availability for Minibar throughout March.