This Tasting Menu Tastes Like Pot My cross-country tour of super-high-dollar cannabis cuisine.
What dosage would you prefer with your dinner this evening?” intoned my host. “We recommend 30 milligrams at most, sir.” He was a goateed gentleman who bent slightly from the waist as he talked, in the practiced way I’d seen sommeliers do in grand restaurants around town a million times before. We weren’t in a grand restaurant, exactly, just a small, tastefully decorated room with half a dozen marble tables. But already, glasses of Champagne were being served, and the chef — a veteran of Masa, among other decorated kitchens — had appeared in his whites to announce the first course of our $365 tasting dinner. The crowd included standard members of the city’s gourmet-dining menagerie: blank-faced sushi bros with glittering moon-shaped watches, monied young couples scrolling absently on their phones, businessmen loudly exchanging notes on resorts they’d just visited.
Cannabis Fine Dining NYC was the name of this discreet little operation, which — after making a hefty deposit via Zelle and receiving a series of anonymous text-message directions — I’d found behind a door at the end of an apartment hallway in Soho. The proprietor, who asked that I keep him anonymous, told me that he’d begun a series of high-end pop-up dinners during COVID and added a pot-infused option after New York legalized marijuana in 2021. Now it was becoming so popular that he was considering bumping up the price to $420. He wanted me to know that elegant cooking was at the center of the evening’s experience. “I would love this to become the first Michelin-starred cannabis restaurant in the world. That’s my ambition,” he said, as I sipped my excellent grand cru.
“I’ll take a light dose, please,” I heard myself say, and presently the first course appeared: a spoonful of golden Osetra caviar set on a tear-shaped tart laced with porcini. “Cannabinoid molecules love fat, and caviar is pure fat,” said the proprietor. (I swear his Cheshire cat smile grew bigger with every tiny, pleasurable bite I took that night.) The priciest cuts of tuna belly also turned out to be a perfect vehicle for getting high, he said, and Wagyu beef too. Depending on how I felt later on, I could try the chef’s special “infused Wagyu Big Mac,” made with truffles and layers of foie gras and uni caviar and offered as a supplement for $250.