Short version: rich people just want convenient food, don’t really give a toss if it’s mediocre or expensive.
By Felix Salmon on Grub Street:
Momofuku Ssam Bar on lower Second Avenue is a roaring success; open the same concept 60 blocks north and you’d probably fail miserably. Gourmands and food writers naturally flock to the new and interesting, but the rich tend to be neither gourmands nor food writers. (It goes without saying that food writers tend not to be rich, too.)
Reinforcing that theory is the fact that for the rich, the combination of high prices and unadventurous food acts as a sort of invisible velvet rope. Besides being handily located on the Upper East Side, a restaurant like Nello can charge $26 for mediocre beet salad, or $40 for a plate of uninspired mushroom risotto, because to its customers, the money matters as little as the actual food does. But the 99 percent won’t go there, because when they do splurge on food, they want an adventure to remember.
I’d also be curious to know how many of these 1 percenters have their own chef. I mean, if I had my own chef, I probably wouldn’t be going out to eat all that often….
Fascinating, and I imagine there are some parallels here in DC, in addition to the number of restaurants (e.g., Cafe Milano) in which the food is fine if not notable, but people go to be around the other people that go.