By 3 p.m., a spokesperson for the North Loop's hottest new prix fixe told CP that four-person reservations for all of February and March were gone. Just one reservation for two remained.
That's a Bikini Kill ticket scalper speed of sales: impressive, but not entirely surprising. Demi is the tiny new tasting menu spot from James Beard Award-winner Gavin Kaysen (Spoon and Stable, Bellecour). With him at the helm, and a stacked kitchen of star chefs, it might just be the restaurant that brings a Michelin Star to Minneapolis. People are correspondingly stoked.
The talk on Twitter Monday, though, was about the prices. We are still a penny-pinching people, and this place ain't cheap. The less-expensive experience—the two-hour Barrington Menu—runs $95 a person, while the 2.5-hour W.C. Whitney is $125. Drinks start at $55 for the booze-free Temperance Pairing of teas and juices and shrubs, topping out with the $105-per-head Reserve Pairing.
We spent some time tinkering with tickets for parties of two before they evaporated to figure out cost after taxes and fees, and this is what it looks like on the low and high end.
So, yes: That is a lot of money. And as ever, people weighing in online fell into two camps.
i get itchy thinking about people who can afford — and choose — to drop $600+ on one (1) meal. i know that it is also an overall experience aside from the food itself, but i would never in good conscience support an establishment that excludes 99 percent of people even if i could— andrea (@whtegrlinacrowd) February 4, 2019
For sure - $330 all-in is certainly not outrageous for a 20-seat, potentially Michelin star restaurant. https://t.co/V3vvqqcMFd— DeRusha Eats (@DeRushaEats) February 4, 2019
Now, I wouldn't go conflating "cheap" with "in line with San Francisco and New York City," especially not if any of us hopes to afford rent here in 10 years.
But is it reasonable? Like us, WCCO's DeRusha crunched the numbers to find out how much a meal at Demi would run you with various pairings—his tweet about pricing is perhaps what set off the online discussion. So we asked, food person to food person: What's his take on the cost?
Essentially, he says it's what he tweeted above, which is that $95 to $125 is actually on the low end for this kind of thing. "Easily in the steakhouse range, same as Kado no Mise’s omakase."
A fair point!
For more context, our Best Splurge last year was the $215-with-wine "Feed the shit out of me and make it nice" menu at Corner Table. The pop-up Travail's doing in Minneapolis right now costs $85 a person, and those prices will jump to as much as $135—before fees and alcohol—starting in March. While this sure sets a high bar for Demi, it's not unprecedented in Twin Cities fine dining.
But for folks like Andrea Pendergast (@whtegrlinacrowd), the sticker shock is less about Demi specifically, more a reaction to the tasting menu concept as a whole.
"Mostly it seems so out of touch for the time we are in, when thousands of federal employees were lining up at food pantries to feed their families not even two weeks ago," she says. "Tasting menus in general are such a weird, classist niche thing, when I think more people getting to eat good food is a better than catering to such a small section of people."
Also a fair point!
"I think if people will pay $85 for a Travail pop-up and no one raises a peep about that... $95 for a restaurant trying to get a Michelin Star is nothing," DeRusha adds. "That said—it's also crazy. Everyone is right!"
Regardless of where you land, the price tag isn't keeping folks from forking over their credit card info to snag a reservation; at this writing, it looks like only a handful of solo spots remain.
Everyone else will just have to wait (and squirrel away their pennies) until March 1, when April reservations become available—and, in all likelihood, disappear as quickly.