How ‘Tyrannical’ Are Fine-Dining Restaurants Really? New York’s Tasting Menus Ranked by Time, Courses, and Cost

Blanca wins/loses for most time-intensive tasting. Photo: Victor Prado/New York Magazine

Lately, everyone's bitching about how tasting menus are too lengthy, too expensive, and, grievously, packed with too much food. This is serious. But you may be wondering, out of the fancy restaurants in the city, which boasts the most oppressive multicourse feast? Which chef is the most Stalin-esque? We've ranked New York's top tasting menus by the estimated length of the meal, the number of courses, and the cost, so you can choose your preferred form of pain. Keep in mind that some restaurants are listed twice because they have tiered tastings. And finally, if you're a true food-loving masochist (don't worry; this is a safe space) and want to seek out the most tortuous experience, we've created an unofficial Tyrannical Tasting Menu Index Number that takes all three factors into consideration.

By Time:
Blanca: Four hours
Per Se: Three and a half hours
Eleven Madison Park: Three to three and a half hours
Gramercy Tavern: Three hours
Momofuku Ko: Three hours
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare: Two and a half to three hours
Atera: Two and a half to three hours
Daniel: Two and a half to three hours
Marea: Two to two and a half hours for six-course tasting; two and a half to three hours for eight courses
Del Posto: Two and a half to three hours
Torrisi Italian Specialties: Two hours for seven-course tasting; two and a half for twenty courses
Le Bernardin: Two to two and a half hours
wd~50: Two hours for five-course tasting; two to two and a half hours for twelve courses
Battersby: Two hours for five-course tasting; two and a half for seven courses
Gwynnett St.: Two hours
Dovetail: One hour and 45 minutes to two hours and 45 minutes
Jean-Georges: One and a half to two hours for two to four people; three and a half to four hours for five to eight people

By Number of Courses:
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare: 24
Atera: 23 to 27
Blanca: Twentysomething
Torrisi: Twenty
Momofuku Ko: Sixteen
Eleven Madison Park: Fourteen to sixteen, depending on the season
wd~50: Twelve
Dovetail: Ten
Per Se: Nine
Gwynnett St.: Eight to nine
Marea: Eight
Del Posto: Eight
Battersby: Seven
Gramercy Tavern: Seven
Jean-Georges: Seven
Le Bernardin: Seven
Torrisi: Seven
Daniel: Six
Le Bernardin: Six
Marea: Six
Battersby: Five
Del Posto: Five
wd~50: Five
Jean-Georges: Three

By Price:
Per Se: $295
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare: $225
Daniel: $195
Eleven Madison Park: $195
Blanca: $180
Momofuku Ko: $175
Le Bernardin: $174
Jean-Georges: $168
Atera: $165
Del Posto: $165
Marea: $165
Torrisi: $160
wd~50: $155
Le Bernardin: $147
Marea: $135
Dovetail: $132
Jean-Georges: $118
Gramercy Tavern: $116 (chef’s tasting)
Del Posto: $115
Gramercy Tavern: $98 (vegetable tasting)
wd~50: $90
Battersby: $85
Gwynnett St.: $85
Torrisi: $75
Battersby: $65

And now here they are in order of descending "tyranny," based on Grub Street's unofficial Tyrannical Tasting Menu Index Number*, a permutation that takes all three factors into consideration.

  1. 1) Blanca

  2. 2) Atera

  3. 3) Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

  4. 4) Torrisi Italian Specialties (twenty courses)

  5. 5) Eleven Madison Park

  6. 6) Momofuku Ko

  7. 7) [Tie] Gwynnett St.; Gramercy Tavern (vegetable tasting menu)

  8. 8) Battersby (seven courses)

  9. 9) Torrisi Italian Specialties (seven courses)

  10. 10) wd~50 (twelve courses)

  11. 11) [Tie] Dovetail (ten courses); Gramercy Tavern (chef's tastings menu)

  12. 12) Battersby (five courses)

  13. 13) [Tie] Del Posto (eight courses); Marea (eight courses)

  14. 14) Del Posto (five courses)

  15. 15) wd~50 (five courses)

  16. 16) Marea (six courses)

  17. 17) Per Se

  18. 18) Le Bernardin (seven-course chef's tasting)

  19. 19) Daniel

  20. 20) Jean Georges (seven courses)

  21. 21) Le Bernardin (six courses)

  22. 22) Jean-Georges (three courses)

*Notes on our calculations: In instances of tasting menus with varying levels of courses and/or varying estimated dining times, the larger numbers were used. In the case of a varying estimated tasting-menu time, such as the one at Dovetail, an average of the provided dinnertime duration was used. Some tasting menus, such at the one at Jean-Georges, take longer when the dinner party is larger; in these instances, the shorter time frame was used for calculation. Unless specified, the Grub Street Tyrannical Tasting Menu Index Number does not take into account parlor snacks, amuse bouches, "found food," bread-basket contents, butter pats, things in cruets, anything that was already on the table when you got there, nips, mignardises, after-dinner mints, take-home cookies, cakes, or lollies. Calculations do not include wine or cocktail pairings. All tyranny, real or otherwise, is subject to change.

This post has been updated to include Momofuku Ko's lunch menu (which is longer and more expensive than its dinner), at the suggestion of restaurant critics Pete Wells, Adam Platt, and others.