Jessica Gelt’s look into Miles Thomson’s pop-up, The Vagrancy Project at Allston Yacht Club, in the L.A. Times last week, seems to have sparked some lively discussion over on The Eastsider L.A. In a story called “$90 for Dinner?”, the blog notes Thompson’s $70 tasting menus and a $175 two-and-a-half pound rib-eye steak on the bar menu, which seems to be the central object of ire in the 50 comments that follow. Dotted amongst the usual charges of “Gentrification!” that come with just about every story ever written about Echo Park in the last five years, are comments like this one: “EVERYONE who goes to this restaurant should be deeply ashamed of themselves for spending that kind of money on a single meal for themselves,” and “To my mind, this is criminal.”
The restaurant and its practices are defended as well, making for a back-and-forth that’s actually pretty hilarious. “What is so special about Echo Park that would disallow high-end steak to be sold here?…as a very wealthy gentleman I am happy that I will be able to try this out,” says one anonymous voice, while another jokes, “But have you tried the new $75 burrito at Tacos Arizas yet??”
Of course, knowing roughly how many people a 40-ounce steak could conceivably feed and that The Vagrancy Project is a pop-up with a temporary engagement, the paranoia of a high-priced takeover of the entire area’s dining scene seems a little premature. Then again, from the west something wicked comes, and it’s only a matter of time before the Masas and dollar tacos of the world are bumping elbows with more exorbitant price tags.
Perhaps all parties concerned should take relief in knowing that fine-dining, for the most part, was already pronounced as ailing by the same Vagrancy project-Pushing paper in April.