Ever: $325. Temporis: $195. Smyth: $285. Oriole: $215. Esme: $235. The Omakase Room: $250. Valhalla: $185. Kasama: $235. Claudia: $285. These are the prices for a tasting menu for one person before tip, before cocktails and wine pairings, before the Windy City’s sticker-shock 10.75 percent sales tax. This means that a meal for two at these restaurants and dozens more around the city can easily — easily! — top $1,000. Let me put on my most erudite food critic voice and say: THIS IS NUTS. 

Yes, two of the aforementioned (Valhalla and the Omakase Room) made our list of best new restaurants because they’re fabulous. There’s another tasting-menu restaurant on the list, Indienne, and I love that it charges a modest-by-comparison $105, making it a great choice for your birthday rather than, say, your first Oscar nomination. 

I enjoy tasting menus — occasionally. Now and again, when I have crazy splurge mode activated, I love the way they can combine for me the feelings of both Zen connectedness with the world and the beat drop at a great concert. Still, I’ve been to most of the restaurants I cite above but won’t likely return. They’re good, sometimes amazing, but $1,000? I love food, but I also love travel, furniture, and my children. 

Chicago is crazier for tasting menus than any other city in the country. Sure, New York has plenty, including some at the Michelin level, but that city’s dining soul is in neighborhood bistros. L.A. doesn’t care for them, unless it’s sushi. Here, our most talented chefs usually leave their jobs working at tasting-menu restaurants to open their own tasting-menu restaurants. So that number just keeps growing, but few diners will ever experience their cooking. What a shame. I know this is a heretical opinion for a Chicago dining critic, but I have a plea: Enough is enough.