Not that long ago, I heard about a Japanese restaurant with its very own dog menu and found myself surprised to discover that there wasn’t yet anything like it in the United States. Welp, it only took a few weeks for a New York restaurant to co-opt the idea and suck all the fun out of it by charging $42 for your dog to eat a steak.
That’s thanks to The Wilson, a restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, who recently launched a “dog-friendly menu” in time for warmer weather. The Wilson will let you purchase your pup a 16-ounce grilled ribeye steak accompanied by grilled baby vegetables and steak jus for $42. The same meal on The Wilson’s human-oriented all-day menu would cost … $42. For the sake of comparison, you can currently buy 30 pounds of dry dog food from Chewy for $49.
If you don’t think your designer poodle has the appetite to wolf down a 16-ounce ribeye but you still want to overpay to feed them, fret not. Lighter dog menu fare under the “When I’m Dieting” section include pan-roasted salmon and a grilled chicken breast available for $28 and $16, respectively. The “Spa Day” dessert menu includes a bowl of sliced apples & heirloom carrots for $11, and a bowl of mixed berries for $14. Personally I believe your dog would probably be even happier foraging for berries for the price of $0, but I digress.
The concept of catering to canines comes courtesy of Jeff Haskell, The Wilson’s culinary director. “The inspiration behind this menu was cooking wholesome, delicious and safe food for dogs and providing peace of mind for our guests who enjoy taking their pets out for a night on the town,” he told Forbes. Haskell says he has what sounds like a very needy English bulldog named Stella, who loves “very softly scrambled eggs with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.”
Given New York’s health code, there are a few restrictions. Dogs can only dine on The Wilson’s side patio or front terrace. They must also be leashed or crated during the meal, and can only be served from single-use, disposable containers. Those restrictions probably ruin the aesthetic composition of any potential Instagram posts for dog “influencer” accounts, but rules are rules.
Is the Wilson’s dog menu just a super-late April Fool’s joke? A massive grifting opportunity aimed at appropriating wealth from ultrarich dog owners? Given that it bills itself as a “contemporary American” restaurant, does the fact that four-legged patrons get to eat better than a sizable percentage of human New Yorkers register as social commentary? I’m not sure if The Wilson is that self-aware. In the meantime, I’d probably just pick up some dog biscuits at Shake Shack and consider making a donation to feed New York’s hungry humans instead.
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