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Nasime, Chef Yuh Shimomura's Wonderful Japanese Kaiseki-Like Menu - King Street in Old Town Alexandria


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This restaurant just opened up on a relatively dead strip of King Street.  The chef is from Kaz.  They offer primarily a Japanese set menu, similar to Kaiseke but less delicate.  We had dinner there earlier this week and were pretty pleased with the food, particularly since it was opening week.  My wife is a pescatarian and they were accommodating with advance notice.

  Courses consisted of

1: Sashimi platter--scallop, salmon, tuna(lean),grouper,sweet shrimp--the fish was excellent in quality on par with Ogawa in the city and Takumi ( variety was more pedestrian than both), fresh wasabi

2: Probably the most interesting: Lotus and Eggplant Age-Dashi --- Two slices of lotus root sandwiched around a shrimp mousse  and two slices of eggplant with crab in the middle--both fried and in a dashi.  The lotus root in particular was really good.  The eggplant was cooked perfectly and meltingly tender but the crab stuffing was not as good as the shrimp mousse. The dashi needed a bit more salt but was quite good

3: Kurobota pork tenderloin fried in a panko crust with a coated and fried mushroom:  The pork was cooked perfectly--just a little rare but overally this was a boring but good dish

4: grilled black cod:  this was given to my wife in lieu of the pork--this was the only dish that failed--- fish was overcooked and oversalted

5: In place of the Oxtail Ramen on the menu they gave us Tuna tempura with soba noodle soup.  The tuna was fried to a perfect rare and did not overcook in the broth.  Broth was tasty.

6: Desert was a Japanese sweet potato custard---this was fine, nothing special.

Set menu was $47 a person---very reasonable for the amount of food.  We will definitely be back in a month or so after they have been in business a while longer.  For Old Town this is a major score given the dearth of non-tourist trap restaurants.  The chef is definitely serious about his food and I will happy to see him succeed in this market.

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On 11/4/2016 at 8:06 AM, malokd said:

This restaurant just opened up on a relatively dead strip of King Street.  The chef is from Kaz.  They offer primarily a Japanese set menu, similar to Kaiseke but less delicate.  We had dinner there earlier this week and were pretty pleased with the food, particularly since it was opening week.  My wife is a pescatarian and they were accommodating with advance notice.

...

Set menu was $47 a person---very reasonable for the amount of food.  We will definitely be back in a month or so after they have been in business a while longer.  For Old Town this is a major score given the dearth of non-tourist trap restaurants.  The chef is definitely serious about his food and I will happy to see him succeed in this market.

I fell behind reading and organizing posts, and just now came across this post about Nasime.

HELLO?!

This is nowhere on the internet, and sounds just as exciting as Takumi (which is far-and-away the best, most important Japanese restaurant in Northern Virginia). Has anyone else tried Nasime? malokd, you may have unearthed a really exciting restaurant - I'm not trying to make diamonds from coal, but this "reads" like it could be a big deal.

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On 11/4/2016 at 1:20 PM, malokd said:

sake and japanese beers, suntory highballs

and wine. Per glass prices of most beverages about $7-15 (except for the Dassai). Sake and wine bottles uniformly priced at four times the cost of a glass.

First course was a simmered dish containing ikura, uni, blue crab, and matsutake. Instead of pork tenderloin, the fried dish was oysters. The "ramen" had an oxtail broth and somen (?) noodles. Great value. I can see coming back often and rarely having the same meal. Everyone is careful to note this is not kaiseki. Dishes are combined unlike, I think, they would be in Japan. Maybe call it idiosyncratic omakase?

One chef and one server. A pair of two-tops, one four-top, six counter seats, and a banquette seating six. Comparable to Makoto in square footage, but Nasime is contemporary, brighter, and more comfortable. So make a reservation or visit during a slow weekday (Tuesday or Wednesday).

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Add another endorsement for this place.  Stopped by last night, and had a great meal:

  • Spanish cod cheek ni-oroshi. Fried cod in a dashi.  Very nice.
  • Otsukuri. Sashimi of conch, bluefin, spanish mackerel, salmon, and one or two other fish that I've forgotten but that were all some of the best quality fish I've had in a long time (and I've spent much of the last year on pacific islands gorging on seafood.) Special bonus--I almost always ask for ponzu sauce w/ sashimi because I find that soy overwhelms really good quality fish, but I didn't have to here, as the fish was accompanied by a very nice and light ponzu jelly.
  • West Coast Oyster Eggplant Dengaku. This was my favorite course.  Perfectly fried meaty oysters with charred sweet eggplant.
  • Maine Lobster Miso Ramen.  My least favorite course, but it was also very good; shiro miso, butter, and corn made a rich and creamy broth that turned the entire thing into kind of a New England-style clam & corn chowder gone upscale, but I honestly would have preferred a nice pork ramen and then some lobster w/ butter on the side. :)
  • Cantaloupe ice cream, which turned out to actually be cantaloupe ice cream, red bean(?) ice cream, chilled cantaloupe, and rose water jelly.

The kaiseki menu is $48 + tax/tip; they also have a few a la carte items in the $6-20 range, although I think I saw a note saying that they don't offer those until after 830pm.  Service was a little off just because it appears to basically be a two-person show--Chef Yuh, and what appears to be a relatively new waitress, Vera--and I arrived just before they were closing down, but they were both very attentive and I'm sure as they get settled in, the (very tiny) kinks will get ironed out.  Alcohol runs from $7 (for a suntory highball or a beer) to $25 for some of the higher-end sakes and wines (per glass; per-bottle prices were ~$40-150).

Just in terms of quality of food, I'd put this place easily on par with Kaz and Makoto (or at least my memories of meals there, since it has been literally years since I have been to either of them).

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Every single dish was different than the last post. 

Uni topped lobster in turnip soup

Sashimi 

Some sort of fish with yam and a great sauce cooked in a big lead.

Pork belly made like a bibimbop

Roasted apple ice cream, soy ginger tapioca balls.

Game changer for Old Town

TS from WP came last week. They called for pictures with the chef today.

Go before you can't. Dope.

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Well, I called it "pork belly" above, which is a fatty, boneless cut of meat from the belly of a pig. It was crisp on the outside and soft underneath. It fell apart with a fork. I don't know - it's like most pork belly. Not sure what you're asking. It had sauce, vegetables, a soft fried egg, and rice. You stir it up before eating. 

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Mark me down as a fan!  Went last night with my wife and we loved the place.  In deference to the chef, I will not write a seven page review, but I'll just say we loved every course and can't wait to go back.  It was a new and different experience for us, mostly because our knowledge of Japanese cuisine doesn't extend too far beyond sushi, but I'm excited to learn more here.  The waitress said they have a new menu every day, but usually it only changes a little each day, however, she said what we had last night were all dishes she hadn't seen before (except the sashimi which they do every day with different fish).

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The first course: 

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Sashimi

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On 12/31/2016 at 3:14 PM, Marty L. said:

Darn -- now we'll never be able to get in on the day of, after seeing the menu . . . .

I called tonight at 6:15 for a party of 3, and we got in at the time of our choosing (6:45-7 PM), at the chef's counter.

Any other long-extinct myths you want dispelled? :P 

As sweth noted a month ago, the price has gone up from $47 to $48 - prepare for it to increase closer to $60.

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8 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I called tonight at 6:15 for a party of 3, and we got in at the time of our choosing (6:45-7 PM), at the chef's counter.

Any other long-extinct myths you want dispelled? :P 

As sweth noted a month ago, the price has gone up from $47 to $48 - prepare for it to increase closer to $60.

You got a table 30 minutes after you called?  Is that what you're saying?  

Any details on the meal?

Regarding the "price increase", I wonder if the original $47 price quote (1st post in this thread) wasn't a typo.  The Washingtonian article was published 2 days before the first post here and Jessica Sidman has it listed as a $48 meal

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2 hours ago, Bart said:

You got a table 30 minutes after you called?  Is that what you're saying?  

Any details on the meal?

Regarding the "price increase", I wonder if the original $47 price quote (1st post in this thread) wasn't a typo.  The Washingtonian article was published 2 days before the first post here and Jessica Sidman has it listed as a $48 meal

The first post must have been a typo.

Yes, that's what I'm saying, and I'll review the meal in a later post.

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Wow.  I loved this place.  It really reminded me of places that we went in Japan.  The restaurant was hard to find- they have no sign hanging, only window-front, if you make it to Olio- you've gone too far.  Small and well composed.  We got reservations for Saturday night- I called and left a message on the res line, the call wasn't returned, so I called on Friday night to the normal line- they said they were working on glitches with the res line.  But were very nice.  I got a recommendation on two sakes, I tried one and then the other.  We started with a delicious red grouper with ankimo puree and ponzu oroshi- this was delicious- the puree was fresh, and not like a creamy puree, but more like a grated puree that tasted so fresh, I wanted to eat every bite in the bowl, I was scooping up puree with roasted brussels sprout.  The next course was a sashimi course with lobster, tuna and a few other bites.  I liked the plating on this dish and each bite was delicious.  Next up was a maple leaf duck and eggplant with maitake ankake.  This dish was good, but not the best of the night, but it made sense in the progression.  The duck was very good and I ate my and Hubby's mushrooms, I thought the weak point was the eggplant, which was a bit mushy and the gravy was just too emulsified and gravy like.  We then had a tasmanian trout with japanese risotto so to say- a hot pot of rice and fish eggs- ikura zosui.  This was a great dish the fish eggs were little warm umami bombs, with great fish and rice, composed, but super comforting.  This was so warm and good on a cold night, it was really, really good and in the moment.  For dessert there was chestnut ice cream (although I would guess based on texture it was non-dairy ice cream, I took a dairy pill just in case, but...) with coconut gelee, matcha cream.  There was sweet potato in there somewhere, but not quite sure where.  I really liked the dessert- it was re-assuring in it's reminder of Japanese desserts we had there- not to sweet, great texture.  The couple next to us was celebrating a birthday and had red mung bean spring rolls- I wanted one of those!  I think this is a type of restaurant that DC has been missing- and for it to first pop up in Alexandria- surprising.  I want to go back and see what they have next!  I am so impressed to find a Japanese restaurant daring not to have sushi, and to be doing a tasting menu that changes so frequently- it was really refreshing.  It felt like somewhere off the street in Kyoto.  One small, but important complaint though- I wish they would have better chopsticks, the ones they have are thick and somewhat uncomfortable in the fingers.  Everything else was great- the space was minimal, but I had space to talk with Hubby and it felt so intimate.  The service was very, very nice and competent.

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53 minutes ago, ktmoomau said:

 I am so impressed to find a Japanese restaurant daring not to have sushi, and to be doing a tasting menu that changes so frequently- it was really refreshing.  It felt like somewhere off the street in Kyoto.  

I just checked the menu they currently have online and it has no resemblance to yours at all!  I don't know if they already have next week's menu up, or just that they can't keep up with the changes in the kitchen.  But I agree, it is very daring to have a Japanese restaurant with a set menu which you aren't fully aware of until you're experiencing it.  Let's hope this is the beginning of a new wave of unusualness in Old Town.

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11 hours ago, Bart said:

  I don't know if they already have next week's menu up, or just that they can't keep up with the changes in the kitchen.  

They said they change the menu every day, and based on all the posts I believe it.  Which is good if you like trying new things, but bad if you read someone's post and something sounds really good!  

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Went back for our second visit last week.  Food was just as good( if not better) than our first.

1) Snapper stuffed with tofu topped with uni

2) Sashimi plate

3) Fried oyster in a roasted hatcho miso( miso was roasted on a leaf--- i remember a similar presentation in Japan)

4) Menu had oxtail ramen, since we don't eat beef they made a ramen with sea bream head--the meat was excellent--gelatinous and rich off the collar--the perfect cut of fish to stand up to a braise

5) Matcha ice cream with agar jellies and red bean paste spring roll--the ice cream rocked--not over sweetened.  Was really good

What a win for Old town

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We visited Nasime before Christmas. It's exciting to have a restaurant in Old Town that's exploring Japanese cuisine outside of sushi. I had left a message on the reservation line and received a return call on the same day. While I had requested a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen, we arrived to find them all full. No big deal.

The service was extremely friendly. We requested help in selecting a bottle of sake. I don't remember now what we chose, but it was terrific. It was described as being like a bold red and that was accurate. I also appreciated the beer is all genuine Japanese imports. Our menu that night consisted of the following:

1 - Sake Steamed Tile Fish w/ Uni. I'm not normally a fan of uni, but I enjoyed his.

2- Sashimi. Consisted of salmon, yellowtail and two other fish I hadn't heard of. This was some of the best sashimi I've ever had.

3 - Grilled Fillet Mignon w/ Eggplant Miso. This was the big miss of the night. There was no char on the beef and it was mushy. Combined with the eggplant miso, it was a one-note dish both in texture and flavor.

4 - Oregon Black Truffle & Turkey Ramen. I assume the turkey was a nod to the Christmas season. I thought the broth was pretty good, but the turkey meatballs were dry.

5 - Honey-Dew Ice Cream. I'm not a dessert eater, but this was a refreshing way to end the meal.

Overall, I wanted to like Nasime more than I wound up actually liking Nasime that night. The fish preparations were clearly the strong suit with the meat dishes just a little off. I'm still anxious to go back however, because this is a small, unique restaurant that I think will only get better. 

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Grover and I NEVER go to any restaurant on two consecutive nights... well, up until now. We went to Nasime on Friday night early.  At 5:30 we were the only people in the restaurant.  At 6:30 every seat was filled.  The food both nights was amazing, light, fresh, subtly flavorful, (did I say fresh?) and different from day to day.  The progression was somewhat the same, soup with eggplant and a fish of some sort in a souper (sic, I know) flavorful broth, followed by Sashimi and some of the best Uni I have ever eaten.  As an aside, even the Soy sauce was remarkable. no, not Kikkoman, but direct from Japan Soy sauce.  I don't know if you can describe soy sauce like wine but this one definitely had depth, a smooth on the tongue, mouth feel and was just light enough to add complexity to the excellent sashimi.  The meat course was a New Zealand lamb chop.  Not exactly Japanese food, but (insert favorite superlative here) had touches of Japan in the spices and preparation. The fourth dish was Steelhead Trout in a stew like preparation with rice (as described on the menu "Japanese risotto").  Even though we were both complaining (happily) about being full, there wasn't a grain of rice in the bowl when we finished.  Dessert was Soy ice cream with banana and soy jelly.  The perfect end to a great dinner.  Overall, the pacing can be a bit off when the place is busy (and it will be after 6:30pm) and there is really only one server (the sous-chef fills in as needed) but the food is worth the marginal wait. 

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We had a lovely first (definitely not the last) experience at Nasime last night. We sat at the counter and started our meal with a beautiful, delicate Clam & Lily Bulb Chawanmushi - so creamy, the sweet crunch of the bulb contrasting with the slightly salty clams - both of them hidden beneath the custard cloud. The sashimi course included sablefish, salmon, and tiny sweet shrimp. Next up was grilled American wagyu and asparagus with a kinome (aka Szechuan peppercorn tree - from the chef's garden) ponzu. The visual showstopper was the blue crab noodle soup - with claws poking up out from the nest of noodles in a miso broth. Similar to Escoffier, we couldn't believe we ate the whole thing! Our final course was homemade green tea ice cream atop strawberry/pinot noir and coconut (I think) jelly. Every course was carefully prepared and presented by the chef; drinks recommendations and additional service cheerfully provided by the solo server. It is a great value for the quality and care that go into each dish, not to mention the creativity it takes to present a constantly evolving menu.

What a treat to have a gem like this a few blocks away! It was mentioned that they are usually able to accommodate walk-ins early in the week. And for a longtime resident of (and lifelong visitor to) Alexandria, hard to imagine such an incredible transformation of space that was previously part of Old Town institution The Lamplighter!

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1 hour ago, JimCo said:

I think Don is right that the best is Nasime but you can't get it a la carte. I think it's only sashimi and only part of the tasting menu. We're fond of Momo as a neighborhood place. Our distant third was Kyoto in the Bradlee Shopping Center. However, we were told by some friends who were regulars there that management cleaned house last fall and that it had really fallen off (and it didn't have far to fall...).

Nasime has an ever-changing four course fixed price dinner and sashimi is always the second course. Been that way since we first ate there the second day they were open through dinner last Sunday night.

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On 1/17/2018 at 8:43 PM, Escoffier said:

Nasime has an ever-changing four course fixed price dinner and sashimi is always the second course. Been that way since we first ate there the second day they were open through dinner last Sunday night.

I'm excited to try Nasime. Alexandria Japanese options are a bit depressing. I make the trek into DC for the better stuff.

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5 hours ago, Madam said:

I'm excited to try Nasime. Alexandria Japanese options are a bit depressing. I make the trek into DC for the better stuff.

Nasime is closed on Monday and there is seating for only 26.  Make sure you have reservations otherwise you won't be able to get in.  I'd suggest you ask for seats at the bar in front of the open kitchen.  Make sure you ask for the seats that are the farthest from the door because the first three seats have a blocked view of the chef.

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Nasime for Japanese but make sure you have reservations.  8 seats at the open kitchen, tables for about 10 (better be friendly) and one private room that will seat 8 in a pinch).  Menu varies every day so I have no idea what you'd eat. Prix fixe of $55/per person for 4 courses one of which will be sashimi.  Excellent food.

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1 hour ago, Escoffier said:

Nasime for Japanese but make sure you have reservations.  8 seats at the open kitchen, tables for about 10 (better be friendly) and one private room that will seat 8 in a pinch).  Menu varies every day so I have no idea what you'd eat. Prix fixe of $55/per person for 4 courses one of which will be sashimi.  Excellent food.

Yes, unless there's something I don't know, Nasime is the best restaurant in Alexandria right now (and has been since Restaurant Eve closed).

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This continues to be the best restaurant in Alexandria, that some people and no one knows about at the same time.  Which is good as it is a really small restaurant, and you do need a reservation.  We started with a wonderful dashi with enoki mushrooms and fish (I can't remember which), next course we upgraded the sashimi and had toro, urchin, river trout, and a range of other fish, all of them where just delicious.  The next course was pork tenderloin with a foie gras, miso sauce and roasted eggplant- again really nicely done, very rich, but balanced with the nice grilling of the eggplant.  Main course was a curry mussel udon/french onion soup mixture.  That sounds like a terrible combination, but it was quite delicious, I would have loved to have taken the leftover broth home to put some ramen noodles into the next day.  It made the dish very unxious, the udon noodles though cut through the richness, and the mussels were really plump. Last course was a yam ice cream and small crispy roll with red bean inside.  The meal from start to finish was just delicious, the pacing was good, our server was really nice.  It is a very close space, and if you can get the bar seating, I really enjoy that.  Really the food here is quite complex and just really focused.  

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On 3/27/2020 at 4:22 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Thought it might give each other ideas based on where and what you're ordering for take-out or delivery.  

Insanely delicious takeaway of Truffle Zested Oxtail Udon Noodle Soup from Nasime Japanese Restaurant.   Exquisitely prepared with lots of care by Chef Yuh Shimomura.  I just started following Nasime on Facebook to keep up with what is offered on the takeaway menu for both lunch and dinner, which updates frequently.  I called in my dinner order tonight and it was ready to pick up in 16 minutes.  Looks like delivery is offered within 3 mile radius, but I recommend you call to confirm.

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From Saturday, May 16, 2020, playful, fun and insanely delicious ultimate Japanese comfort food from Nasime Japanese Restaurant.  Panko Crusted Aji (Horse Mackerel) w/ Japanese Tartar Sauce on Rice with perfect accompaniments of Napolitan “Japanese Comfort” Spaghetti and Japanese Potato + Egg  Salad.  So good I ordered it again for Sunday dinner the following evening!

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Yesterday's Super fun and delicious Summer noodle dish from Nasime Japanese Restaurant!  Kani Hiyashi-Chuka (Blue Crab Sesame Cold Ramen Noodle) aka "Japanese-Style Sesame Sauce Crab Chilled Chinese noodles."  Each ingredient elevated the other and complemented so well together.  So refreshing on a hot evening.  Makes me look forward to Summer!

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From May 14, 2020, dinner takeaway of Chilean Sea Bass Agedashi Udon Noodle Soup. Chef Yuh Shimomura"s creations are well crafted with careful thought to ingredients and exquisitely executed.  His food is always delicious and so much fun to enjoy.

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55 minutes ago, Marty L. said:

How was it?

I just asked DIShGo what she thought (we each had one), and her answer was identical to my thoughts: The quality of ingredients was beyond reproach, but the dish was too busy, with too much going on - it needed editing (incidentally, the sauce atop the squid on the left was quite mild, and worked well with the dish).

$20 was a very fair price.

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2 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I just asked DIShGo what she thought (we each had one), and her answer was identical to my thoughts: The quality of ingredients was beyond reproach, but the dish was too busy, with too much going on - it needed editing (incidentally, the sauce atop the squid on the left was quite mild, and worked well with the dish).

$20 was a very fair price.

Interesting, thanks.  I've never been (too far) but am tempted.  After tonight they're moving to a few indoor seatings and a $48 bento-ish takeout.

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Just now, Marty L. said:

Interesting, thanks.  I've never been (too far) but am tempted.  After tonight they're moving to a few indoor seatings and a $48 bento-ish takeout.

Oh! Well, we had other things also, and I need to say that this bowl (a perfectly fine bowl) might have been the only item at Nasime that I haven't *loved*. If this isn't the best restaurant in Old Town, I'd like to know what is.

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On 1/4/2017 at 12:40 AM, DonRocks said:

As sweth noted a month ago, the price has gone up from $47 to $48 - prepare for it to increase closer to $60.

The $48 price Don quoted above was for four courses plus dessert without tip included.  (the $47 price in the quote was a typo from an earlier post)

I just checked their current menu and now it's 6 courses plus dessert for $95 but includes tip.  I have to say I'm not thrilled about this.  

I'm going to assume the total amount of food served is about the same as before, as it was always a very filling meal that never left me feeling hungry.  In other words, there was no reason to need to add two more courses to ensure the diners were properly fed, because they were properly fed with the original 4 course meal.  An apples to apples comparison between the two pricing scenarios looks like this:  (For calculation purposes, I'm using a straight 20% tip on both).

4 course + dessert = $48 + 20% tip = $57

6 course + dessert = $95 - 20% tip included = $76

So if my assumption about the total amount of food being the same is correct, we're essentially paying $19 more for the "same" meal.  Like I said above, I'm not thrilled about this.

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