We recently received an updated menu from Old Town Brasserie, the powerhouse French restaurant in Old Town, if you could believe it. Want to know how many items have changed between late October (when it opened) and now?
Zero! Not a one! Okay, what used to be a veal hanger steak with French feta cheese and pistachio brown butter caper sauce has now been liberalized to “veal du jour.” But otherwise, dish to dish, ingredient to ingredient, exactly the same.
The prices, on the other hand…all but two items had a price increase, and you can rest assured that the remaining dishes did not get any cheaper. On average, appetizers went up a buck and entrees went up two dollars. This is so standard as to be a yawn for the first three months of a successful restaurant’s existence. You open with the menu priced conservatively, and if the restaurant is packed, elementary economic logic dictates incremental price increases as the market can bear. OTB is one of the most popular restaurants on MenuPages, so obviously its customers are not violently opposed to paying $24 for roasted duck breast with crispy duck leg confit, thyme-infused beluga lentils, applewood smoked bacon, Savoy cabbage and sauce rouennaise instead of $22. There are no riots in the streets now that Lobster Ravioli Façon Vietnamiene with poached shrimp, lightly pickled cucumber salad and Vietnamese foam is $12 instead of $10.
We’re sure that the menu will start changing over the next few months, but OTB’s management prudently chose not to qualitatively mess with success when quantitative changes would do the trick. This gives us an idea! What if a restaurant like Old Town Brasserie, which is surely full most of the time, saved certain tables for people willing to pay a 25% premium or something on their meal? And if there were no takers, they could offer the table as normal to a walk in, no fuss no muss. This is like the recent trend of reservation scalping, but entirely to the restaurant’s benefit. Totally awesome idea, right?
Old Town Brasserie [MenuPages]
(Check out the old and new menus, for posterity, after the jump)