Cipriani Downtown.Many folks may be flush once their tax returns come through on April 15. To help them decide where to spend their chunk of change, we’re trying some of the city’s most (absurdly) expensive dishes to see if the hefty prices tags are worth it and we've saved the best (aka worst) for last, a $27.95 burger at
The Cipriani restaurants have always had a reputation as an enclave for well-heeled Europeans who are looking to sup in an environment that is more about style than sustenance. The swanky restaurant has to keep out the commoners somehow, and based on our visit this week, it seems like their strategy is dubbed +10. Namely, add $10 to what a menu item should normally cost. Even so, the place has its legions of fans, so we thought we'd head over to try their fancy burger.
The Dish: Ok, maybe fancy is a bit of a stretch. This $27.95 plate may be more expensive than the famous black label burger at Keith McNally's Minetta Tavern, but that doesn't mean that the restaurant does simple things like, say, try to make it look nice. The charred beef patty is served on what looked like de-crusted slices of Wonder Bread. Maybe that's acceptable for a $3.50 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich c. seventh grade, but it somehow left us wanting more (and by more, we mean we were ready to ask for the "real bread" until we realized it wasn't a joke).
There is a dab of mayo on one of the slices, three pieces tomato, some lettuce and a few gerkins.
The saving grace was the large side of thick-cut fries, which came with small glasses of ketchup and mustard (the same glasss that martinis were served in, see bonus section below).
Why The Price?: There are plenty of expensive burgers in this town. The aforementioned Black Label patty is so pricey because it uses a custom-made blend of top-quality meats. This? We can't imagine Pat LaFrieda supplied the chuck, as it tasted like burgers we've received at outdoor fairs in Riverside Park where having your face painted like a cat was more expensive than the grub. The only explanation we have is that the prices might now seem that bad when you are converting them into Euros.
Is It Worth It?: New York is a burger saturated town, and there are plenty of patties at all price ranges that are far superior. In this case, and because of the international crowd that frequents this joint, there are numerous answers to this question: no, non, nyet, nein, não, 不. Sadly, we could go on...
Is it Worth It?: The Bonus Play At Home Game!!
The $18.95 Martini At Cipriani Downtown
We've played Is it Worth It? a lot this week, so we are throwing in a bonus round for you kids at home. While waiting for our burger, we decided to splurge and have a martini - after all, the famous Cipriani logo shows a little guy shaking a drink high in the air. We asked for a "Bombay martini, straight up, with olives." The bartender proceeded to a cooler, pulled out a chilled bottle of Bombay, poured it straight into a two-and-a-half ounce, stemless glass with nary a shake and placed it on a plate in front of us. The charge for this concoction? $18.95. We've include the picture to the right to help you make your decision.
More Is it Worth It?:
$25 Shrimp Toast at Hakkasan
A $20.75 Bagel at Russ & Daughters
$37 Salad at Bergdorf Goodman
A $24.95 Reuben From Carnegie Deli