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Dinner at Joshua Skenes's Sonoma Ranch Retreat Will Cost You Four Figures

Is it the most expensive meal in California?

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Last fall, it became apparent that chef Joshua Skenes of three Michelin-starred Saison was up to something out in Sonoma, as Instagrams of luxurious dinner parties with horse and carriage rides, bagpipers piping, and wild animals on the menu started to surface. The end game was unclear at the time; now reservations have become available via ticketing system Tock.

According to the website, diners can “Retreat to wine country for an evening of wild foods under the stars and around an open fire,” possibly serving the animals that Skenes, an avid hunter, sources himself (that may or may not include the paw of a black bear). The experience boasts a hefty price tag of $500 per person, with the regular beverage pairings for $500, and reserve wine pairings for $1,500. There is also a non-alcoholic beverage pairing for $500, which includes “Infusions, Elixirs, Teas, and Juices paired with your entire evening.” No details on what non-alcoholic beverages could possible equal that amount (500 La Croix?). Currently, the beverage pairings appear to be required— users cannot proceed until they’ve chosen them, making the cost $1,000 at minimum.

For dinner for two people including dinner, drinks and service, plus tax, the minimum total comes to $2,172.50. According to the FAQs, transportation and accommodations can “be provided” but no prices are listed. It also appears that “old cigars” and “rare spirits” to be enjoyed “while wrapped in bison pelts next to an open fire” are included for no extra charge.


Skenes Ranch reservations for two, with required beverage pairings


Meadowood’s chef’s counter for two, with wine

It’s steep, but on somewhat par with the highest tier of fine dining destinations like The Restaurant at Meadowood, where the chef’s counter menu is $500, and wine pairings are $250, but a 20 percent service charge is added. For two people, dinner at the chef’s counter with optional wine pairings comes to $1,939.50 ($1,293 for two, without wine pairings). However, Meadowood also offers peons the opportunity to eat a tasting menu in the dining room for $275 (a total of $711.15 for two, without wine).

Saison itself costs $398 per person for dinner, without the addition of wine or wine pairings.

Meanwhile it’s still pretty mysterious in terms of what one receives, and the format of the experience, but it’s basically a wild and woolly version of Saison turned up to 11. Stay tuned for more details.


178 Townsend Street, , CA 94107 (415) 828-7990 Visit Website