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How Much Would It Cost You to Make Tosca's $42 Roasted Half of a Chicken?
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Bon Appetit | August 22, 2014
Bon Appetit slipped us the recipe, so we ran the numbers.
The new iteration of North Beach's Cafe Tosca is delicious and wonderful. Just ask our food critic Josh Sens, who praised its roast chicken, saying it was, "an old-world dish made gently new." But even though the joint just landed at #4 on Bon Appetit's annual list of the best restaurants in the country, we still quite haven't gotten over the sticker shock of paying $42 for a half a bird—even if it's meant to be shared by two. So when Bon Appetit published the recipe for making the roast chicken at home, we figured we could run the numbers to get a sense of what Tosca's mark up really is. (We're just looking at ingredient costs, not labor or rent, or anything else.) We used Instacart to shop for all the ingredients needed at Bi-Rite (except the sherry, for which we checked Whole Food's price). Here's what we discovered:
Tosca uses: Half of a four pound chicken.
We bought: One four-pound Mary's Chickens Organic Whole Chicken at $3.99 per pound.
Cost for amount used: $7.98
Tosca uses: Eight sage leaves
We bought: One bunch of sage leaves at $1.99
Cost for amount used: $0.98
Tosca uses: One-quarter cup pine nuts
We bought: One-quarter cup pine nuts
Cost for amount used: $4
Tosca uses: 3/4 cup ricotta
We bought: 16 ounces of ricotta at $4.99
Cost for amount used: $1.87
Tosca uses: About one lemon (three tbs juice between chicken and sauce)
We bought: One organic lemon
Cost for amount used: $1.05
Tosca uses: Two tablespoons olive oil (one tablespoon each in chicken and sauce)
We bought: 16.9 ounces of Bariani extra virgin olive oil
Cost for amount used: $0.83
Tosca uses: Four tablespoons butter (two tablespoons each in chicken and sauce)
We bought: 16 ounces of Strauss unsalted butter for $8.49
Cost for amount used: $1.06
Tosca uses: Four inches of a sourdough baguette
We bought: One Acme sourdough baguette for $2.49
Cost for amount used: $0.83
Tosca uses: 3/4 cup dry Marsala
We bought: 750 ml of 365 dry sherry for $9.99
Cost for amount used: $2.36
Tosca uses: 1/2 cup heavy cream
We bought: One pint Clover organic cream for $3.99
Cost for amount used: $3.99
Tosca uses: 1/2 cup chicken broth
We bought: 32 fluid ounces chicken broth for $6.99
Cost for amount used: $0.87
Tosca uses: 1/4 cup arugula
We bought: One bag of arugula for $3.60
Cost for amount used: $0.40
Tosca uses: So much salt, you guys. Way too much.
We bought: Salt
Cost for amount used: Negligible
Tosca Charges: $42
We paid: $24.33
Is is worth it? Who knows? To be fair, we do know this: Tosca cleans up the dishes for you after. Certainly that's worth a few bucks.