How to Splurge on Dinner Without Going Broke

Tomahawk steak on cutting board with sauces and side dishes

photo: GeeratadT (Shutterstock)

Lately it seems like going to an expensive restaurant, well, outrageous expensive. Where does all the money come from walk? Alcohol mark-ups, inflation-related price hikes, and even over-ordering all contribute to a bill that can reflect an insurance premium. I questioned Chef Brad Miller Seventh Ray Inna swanky Los Angeles restaurant, for his top tips on cutting the bill while making the experience memorable.

Tip #1: Share the salad

“Share the romaine lettuce; Everyone knows that.” That’s how Miller immediately started our conversation about how to save money at restaurants. Split the salad, my friends. It’s better to invest the bulk of your bill in multiple courses, such as an or two interesting appetizers than wasting precious cents on a $20 bowl of frisee.

Tip #2: Go big on the big appetizers

Order a tomahawk steak or cOte de boeuf carries sticker shock, but these are things meant to be shared, and sharing such dishes will be a better move than ordering two different entrees altogether.

“Anything for two is cheaper than two individual appetizers,” says Chef Miller.

I can confirm this. Last at Gage & Toller, an upscale chop house in Brooklyn, I dropped a Ben Franklin on a T-Bone for two. This steak was more than enough for our table of three and when others threw in the towel I was gifted an extra sirloin. These big cuts tend to satisfy even the hungriest of parties, as long as appetizers and a steady pace of eating are brought into play.

Even if you don’t eat red meatlike some restaurants Dai Due running in Austin Specialties like a whole stuffed fish (Pompano with dirty rice), what I am I saidsa weird amount of food. If restaurants with largeFormat appetizers, they tend go big and so should you.

Tip #3: Do your wine homework

“If I get a martini and [my girlfriend] got a blueberry drop, that’s $50 right there,Chef Miller says with a laugh as he explains the financial obligations of buying alcohol at a restaurant. Cocktails and wines by the glass can really add up, so there is a value to consider when ordering from the wine list.

Admittedly a collector of fine wines, boss Miller has his own wine list and he’s always happy to pluck a bottle from his cellar, bring it into the restaurant, and accept any corkage fee that might come his way.

Even mef the corkage is, say, $30, he thinks about it a no-Thinker. “I will get four glasses from my bottle, which I bring with me 30 dollars. Definitely ssomething to consider when wines can easy to sneak up on to $20 per glass on the restaurant menu.

If you’re going the BYOB route, you should inquire beforehand what the fee is and if there is a corkage limit, ie a enclose how many bottles you can bring. Some restaurants request a double cork for a large oneformat bottle like a magnum, and iIn some cases they habit allow you to bring a bottle that is on the a house Wine list – call ahead and research.

and For the sake of appearance, do not abuse this rule by bringing a bottle of wine with the bright orange sticker to a gas station.

“You can go online, look at the restaurant”s wine list, even on the way to the restaurant,” says chef Miller. “CChoose a style you like (Syrah or an Austrian white wine), stop at your local wine merchant, and take the bottle. Due to surcharges on alcohol, a bottle you buy for $30 at the wine store would cost three to four times that much in the restaurant. Add to the corkage in addition to the bottle price and you still win

This is the money saving strategy that hit me the deepest because it’s not just provides insight on Restaurant liquor MarkUPS (which arenot exactly new) but teaches you further how to search the wine world for offers. On my podd Eat this, drink thatI’ve learned that certain wine regions can command higher Prices, while Areas literally next door can yield one cheaper product. Sure you could Ask for a côte-rôtie at your local wine shop, but you might be interested to know the comparable Hermitage is half price.

Not all restaurants welcome bottles from the outside, but others could not survive without their corkage, So wherever you go plan accordingly. in general, Don’t be afraid to go to expensive places and be open how you roll Restaurant people are people too. Tip well, make it big where it matters, and spend your money elsewhere. This is how I roll into the year 2022, because eating cheap is not So simply more.

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