What Makes This $99 Grilled Avocado Dish So Expensive

Correction 7/16/22: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the price of the Grilled Brokaw Avocado at Alderwood.

In case you haven't noticed, avocados have been having something of an (extended) moment for the last 20 years. Around 2000, The Washington Post notes Americans' love of the dense, creamy fruit started to really kick off as avocados became more widely available at grocery stores beyond just the west coast. Ever since, the rise of the fruit across the country has been unstoppable with annual avocado consumption shooting up to 2.7 billion pounds in 2020. That's a massive increase from just 436 million pounds in 1985 (via Statista).

As you may have noticed when looking at the little produce stickers on the avos you buy, the great majority of U.S. avocados are grown in California and then shipped across the nation — a staggering 90%, according to Colorado State University. As you might imagine then, the state is home to some pretty enthusiastic avocado lovers, folks who will gladly pay extra for guac at Chipotle or even don avocado-themed clothing (via The Daily Californian). 

So it makes sense that what is likely one of the most expensive avocado-forward restaurant dishes in the country is being served in its fanatical home state, at Alderwood in Santa Cruz.

This fancy grilled avocado gets a $71 boost from Kaluga caviar

How much would you be willing to pay for an avocado appetizer? If you happen to live in the state of California, there are at least two extra-pricey options available to superfans of the creamy fruit. As reported by Eater, one of those choices is plated up at the newly opened RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) in San Francisco, where the luxury home furnishings store's Palm Court restaurant offers a wood-grilled avocado half filled with crème fraîche, dolloped with 10 grams of Petrossian Kaluga sturgeon caviar, and scattered with chives (pictured). The price tag? $42.

But in that same article, Eater reports that a little digging turned up an even more expensive grilled avocado dish, served about 75 miles south in Santa Cruz. There, Alderwood restaurant lists an $99 avo dish on its menu: A very similar-sounding dish of a mere quarter of the fruit, seared on one side and placed atop a pool of extra virgin avocado oil alongside a quenelle of crème fraîche and one of The Caviar Co. Kaluga caviar. Without the fish roe, the dish runs $14, but that hefty spoonful bumps the price up a whopping $85.

Looking for a more affordable avocado-caviar dish in the area? Eater notes that Ernest, in San Francisco, is now serving a grilled avocado half encrusted with sprouts, Everything Seeds, and smoked trout roe — for a comparatively modest $17.