This Might Be The Most Expensive Restaurant In The US

In the world of fine dining, there are world-renowned culinary greats that command stellar prices for a seat at their table. Secret Menus reported in May 2022 that notable restaurants like California's French Laundry in Yountville and Meadowood in St. Helena, New York City's Per-Se, Chicago's Alinea, and Las Vegas' Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon made their "10 Most Expensive Restaurants In The United States" list. Discoverer shared a similar list in which they named numerous California restaurants, including San Francisco's Atelier Crenn and Saison, Santa Monica's Capo Restaurant, and Beverly Hills' Urasawa.

Distinguished restaurants like Le Bernardin and Restaurant Daniel in New York City, COTE Miami in Florida, and The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, D.C. serve luxurious multi-course meals that satisfy as they set you back up to nearly $450. And, with their coveted Michelin stars, which signify unflinching policies and uncompromising attention to detail, they have earned the right to charge exorbitant prices for their extravagant meals.

But what restaurant stands out amongst the rest in terms of prices?

Japanese food tends to land at the top of many Most Expensive lists

Many expensive restaurants in the United States lean on classic French techniques with a contemporary approach and often fuse their flavors with Japanese and American cuisine. Seafood features prominently in the top echelons of fine dining as well. With a zen aesthetic and dedication to perfection, it is no surprise that Japanese sushi restaurants have ascended to the top positions of many lists of the country's most expensive restaurants

Firmly rooted in Manhattan, Masa was opened by Chef Masayoshi "Masa" Takayama in 2004, via Eater. It is the only Japanese sushi-ya restaurant in the United States with a coveted three Michelin star designation. Chef Masa extends his exacting expectations to each dish served to guests. Every ingredient, every creation, and every meal is of extraordinary quality. Masa is known for its omakase approach in which guests leave the selections completely up to the chefs crafting their meals with the best sushi. Course after course is a delightful and delicious surprise.

Chef Masa is a celebrity chef and culinary artist in the vein of the legendary, 96-year-old master sushi chef, Jiro Ono, the owner of globally-famous micro-restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro in Japan (via Battman's Chefs Connection), and star of the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," per Magnolia Pictures. The indelible Anthony Bourdain was a devoted fan of both iconic chefs and featured Chef Masa on season eight of his CNN series, "Parts Unknown."

What makes Masa worth it?

For Chef Masa, authentic Japanese cuisine is a family tradition and a labor of love. Masa grew up working at his parent's fish market in Japan, where he learned to prepare fish and was a sashimi delivery boy and caterer before he graduated from school, according to the biography on his website. His passion gained young Masa a coveted apprenticeship under sushi master, Sugiyama Toshiaki, at Ginza Sushi-ko, in Tokyo. Moving to Los Angeles in the late 1970s he opened his first restaurant called Saba-ya in 1980 and his second, Ginza Sushiko, dedicated to authentic Japanese cuisine, in 1987 (via Eater). According to a People magazine article from 1990, Ginza Sushiko quickly became the most expensive restaurant in Los Angeles.

In addition to his elevated Japanese cuisine, Chef Masa is devoted to the essence of Japanese culture. He brings elements of Shibui, including simplicity, modesty, silence, naturalness, imperfection, normalcy, and the purity of being, of living, and of sensing, all treasured Japanese values, into his restaurants. Chef Masa personally creates original ceramics and plates for his restaurants (via Masa Designs). The environment is beautiful in its crisp formality and simple design. Chef Masa's eye for detail, dedication to excellence, and amazing food make Masa worth it. 

The culture of Masa

For Chef Masa, it's all about the ambience of his restaurants. Gentle etiquette is evident in every step of service. From the silent greetings from the sushi chefs to the austere atmosphere, the focus is always on the experience of Japanese-style dining. In Japan and at Masa, gratuities are not accepted, according to the Masa website. The restauranteur, his chefs, and staff are honored to serve and share culinary and hospitality excellence with their guests. The New York Times states that cellphones must be silent in the 26-seat restaurant and Eater notes that photography is strictly banned, allowing for complete immersion in culinary excellence and in privacy.

In April 2022, Masa increased its Omasake and Hinoki counter prices, making Masa the most expensive restaurant in the United States, according to Eater. Masa's website lists the starting prices for Omakase at $750.00 and Hinoki counter service at $950.00. The Masa website indicates that reservations are required. Chef Masa also owns the adjacent Bar Masa and serves as the chef at Kappo Masa on Madison Avenue.