thought this was sort of interesting:
written by Michael Bauer, SF Chronicle’s food critic:
I wanted to pass along some detail about our ingredients. I know everyone has fixated on the price because it is expensive but it is a relative bargain and does provide value (cost vs. sale price). Most high end restaurants usually have a food cost of about 30% on average. Our food cost averages 40% because I do not want to charge too much but I am committed to serve the very best quality products available to us in America. Even though most of the subtle differences may go unnoticed.A good amount of our raw fish is sourced from our buyer in Japan, he hand picks everything and gives us daily updates on what is coming and what is best. He has been working with me for about 8 years and it was not until the last 2 years that he really started showing me the very top tier of quality. It is very much dependent on relationship. The day before we know what is available, and then we get the fish the following day. The quality is unreal.For example, the blue wing sea robin you had was $218 for a small fish that yields approximately 16 slices (16 portions). That is a cost of $13.62 for each portion and that is only the fish not including the gelee or the kelp or the other costs associated.The caviar is the highest grade from Tsar Nicoulai. The entire harvest is usually only a few kilos so we buy the whole thing to ensure we have the best. We serve approx 1/3-1/2 of an ounce per portion depending on the dish. At a wholesale cost of $70-80 per ounce that is $23-40 per portion!
This is the typical style of the menu. The meats, the spices, the oils, even the salts. We have full time forager dedicated to picking wild ingredients. We have 18 seats and 24 employees. Everything is made entirely from scratch every single day. You won’t find mise en place left over from the day before here. It is a real production. Extremely challenging but rewarding to know that we have made a choice that is bigger than the business and to adhere to real integrity serving the very highest quality possible from beginning to end. It is just difficult to get the information out there sometimes.