menu changes

After 30 Years, Chanterelle Ends Tasting-Menu Tyranny

Chanterelle's current menu, designed by Juan Hamilton.

Chanterelle's current menu, designed by Juan Hamilton.

We recently wondered how much longer Sorella’s prix fixe tyranny would last, but we didn’t see this one coming — after nearly 30 years of offering only prix fixe menus (the first one, in 1979, changed weekly and cost only $35; the current tasting menu costs $95 without wine pairings and changes roughly every four weeks), Chanterelle tells us that starting tomorrow, it will offer à la carte options during dinner. Clearly this is a sign of the times — co-owner Karen Waltuck recently told the Times, “We’re all looking around and saying: ‘What is going on here? What can we do to make it better for ourselves and for our clients?’”

Till now, Chanterelle’s official line has been that it doesn’t turn much of a profit and that its tasting menu is a relative bargain. But of course, plunking down $95 for a tasting menu is a pretty big commitment. The new menu, with appetizers priced $15 and up and entrées priced at $28 and up, isn’t exactly dirt cheap, but may well draw newcomers — if only folks who come in to see what the big deal about the signature seafood sausage is all about. So what’s the next step — will the Waltucks start blasting Stones in the dining room à la Harrison? Can we expect a Chanterelle burger? Doubtful. Then again, Chef Waltuck likes a good hamburger — who’s to say he won’t revive the teriyaki salmon one he served at Le Zinc, or the ones he serves at Chanterelle’s staff meals? These days, anything’s possible.

Chanterelle à la Cart Menu [Official site]

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