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9 Crazy-Expensive Tasting Menus: Are They Worth It?

Posted: 11/07/11 08:31 AM ET

Imagine for a moment you've got $450 to spend on dinner (or if you don't have to imagine that hard and are looking for a dinner date, drop us a line ASAP). Would you rather blow it all on one tasting menu or spread it out to try a variety of different restaurants? Despite the bumpy economy, the trend of ultra-expensive tasting menus shows no sign of slowing down. Read on for a breakdown of some of the priciest options in the country. Do you think these sound over-the-moon or simply overkill? Let us know in the comments.

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Masa (NYC): $450
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At this ultraluxe Japanese restaurant in the Time Warner Center, the chef's concept for the menu comes from two elements, shibui and umami. The first means something that has no frills, while the second part refers to that tough-to-describe "fifth taste" found in foods like mushrooms or seaweed.

Diners get five simple appetizers, a sushi course that includes 15 to 20 types of fresh seafood flown in from Japan and, finally, dessert. The restaurant keeps track of what you're served, so each time you come it's a different experience. But you can expect to go beyond the usual yellowtail and tuna -- a regular star on this menu is kegani, a hairy crab found in Japan. The restaurant can "make a life-time impression" according to surveyors. So can buying airplane tickets to Europe.

Also see: "Butch Baker" Meets Easy-Bake Oven
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