Did you ever order a special with no price listing, and get a check for way more than anticipated? A reader recently passed Le Boudoir on Brickell (not the Gables store) during lunchtime. He was attracted by a blackboard special of steak tartare. He soon perused the menu and noticed sandwich prices were "around nine dollars" and some other items cost between $10 and $15 (There were a couple of items that went up to $25). At right, you can see the check he received: $32 for the steak tartar. With beer, an espresso, tax, and automatic gratuity it came to just over $50.
That seemed exorbitant to him. So he sent me the bill. I think it's too much as well. This is, after all, lunchtime at a casual café. I checked the menu of a few upscale steak houses to compare. Red The Steakhouse offers JB's Steak Tartare, made from "prime, hand cut beef tenderloin", for $15.90. That's at dinner. Gotham Steak, in the Fontainebleau Hotel, offers Prime Steak Tartare with crispy potato, gribiche sauce, and a sous vide egg. Price: $17. Also at dinner.
So I called Le Boudoir to ask for an explanation as to why Boudoir's steak tartare was worth twice as much as those at other establishments. No manager or owner was around when I called during the day, and my call was not returned. The next day, when a manager still wasn't on premise, I asked for "the person in charge" -- a waiter named Albert. This is what he had to say:
New Times: How much is your steak tartare?
Le Boudoir: It's $32.
Doesn't that seem expensive for lunch?
We use good quality beef.
Is is Kobe beef?
(Didn't know what Kobe beef was) It's raw beef; filet mignon.
Doesn't that seem expensive to you?
It's filet mignon.
But I looked up the prices at steakhouses such as Red and Gotham, and steak tartare is half the price there.
It's the quality. It's a good piece of filet.
They use prime filet mignon at the steak houses.
Well, we've always had it at this price and nobody ever complained.