Pay $375 to feel like a Chopped judge.

tl;dr Scroll down to FINAL QUESTIONS

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Ever wanted to shutDOWN a restaurant like a #boss?

Ever wanted to feel special, go past the red carpet and feel like a true VIP?

Ever wanted to hang out with other foodies eating specially catered dishes made just for you.. and judge it like a Chopped Judge?

Well now you can.

In this post, you’ll read my full review of the Tasting Collective, on if it’s worth $309 a month to join this food community (Thrillist thinks so). And you’ll also read about TabeTomo, what Eater touts as the “HOTTEST ramen place” in NYCs East Village.

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME

Before we start, if you’re wondering, “who the hell am to talk about this? Let’s answer that.

I’ve been a Yelp Elite for 4+ years and have written 450+ reviews. I’ve been invited to many MANY private restaurant events with itty bitty h’or doreves and sluggish cocktails… It doesn’t phase me anymore. So you can rest assured you’ll get the honest scoop on:

1) if Tasting Collective is #worthit

2) an in-depth review on the food at TabeTomo.

Disclaimer: I hate the word ‘elite’; I simply started writing honestly about my food experiences in NYC, and as a result, Yelp decided to coin my profile ‘Yelp Elite’. I do not consider myself elite or better than anyone. In a world of dishonesty, fake reviews, and exaggerated hype from influencers & magazines seeking affiliate commissions, I speak the truth. I also love sharing good food spots with anyone and everyone.)

Ok, enough niceties, Let’s dive in this shizniz.

The setting is NYC, on a drizzling Avenue A. My friend Justin and I arrived at TabeTomo shivering with some other NewYorkers.

Inside we go… tables are adorned with fancy rating cards, orange napkins and anxious servers.

A tasting collective rep will greet you at the door and let you know the seating style and any additional charges for that night.

And Justin and I sat down for…

TabeTomo’s 6-course Tokyo DreamFeast

TabeTomo Bar

This featured event at Tasting Collective was a 6-course menu featuring small appetizers, TabeTomo’s flagship Tsukemen and a classic dessert with a new twist!

Course 1 – Salmon, Ikura, and Mackerel

Salmon on Saltine
Ikura (Mackerel)

Chef Tomo started us out with a salmon on a saltine. Lol.

This tasted like egg salad, it was mushy. This was my least favorite dish.

On the other hand…Our table UNANIMOUSLY Loved… the Mackerel.

It was a punch of salt and had tons of flavor. Without the fishiness!

Course 2 – Dashimaki Tamago

Tamago

Ommelette blocks.

If you’ve ever had omakase, then you’re familiar with the Tamago piece, which is basically an ommelette lol.

But the Japanese do everything better, and this piece is also slightly sweet. The chef combined this with an ankake sauce (crab) and it wasn’t bad.

But it was still a rectangle ommelette. The crab sauce was a nice touch.

Course 3 – TORI KAWA ~ fried chicken skin

Tori Kawa (chicken skin)

Skin is very popular in Japan.

Salmon skin chicken skin you name it.

Heck the Japanese people have beautiful skin so they’re doing something right.

Most of the flavor comes from the ‘fried’ part. But the Chef’s sauces made this a delicious snack.

Course 4 – KARAAGE ~ fried chicken

Karaage

Mmm. Chicken.

If chicken skin doesn’t satisfy, then this definitely will.

The Karaage at TabeTomo had huge, succulent portions of chicken. You’ll love it.

Dip the chicken in the delectable garlic sauce… and you’ll never go back to Chicken nuggets or KFC again.

Course 5 – TSUKEMEN

The flagship. Broth just shown.

This is what you’ve been waiting for.

This BEAST arrived at our table and everyone gasped.

This was enormous.

At this point, most of us were stuffed (be careful of Sapporos – they fill you up!)

But if you come here just for this dish… you will be SO satisfied.

This isn’t your typical ramen. This requires some work. But it’s SO worth it.

Noodles on the side. Broth on the side.

Dip those thick, al-dente noodles so it GRIPS that sauce (NY Times).

The broth is very thick and salty, almost like a sauce. It’s saltier because it’s meant to be dipped, not slurped like normal ramen.

P.S. After my trip to Japan, this is the CLOSEST tsukemen I’ve had stateside. The Tsukemen here rivals the infamously delicious tsukemen served at Rokurinsha (David Chang knows what’s up).

Course 6 – DESSERT – Roasted Tea Creme Brulee

Roasted Tea Creme Brulee

Roasted. Roasted. Then roasted some more.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love roasted tea. I love creme brulee. But not together.

The roasted tea was overpowering.

Let’s say it wasn’t my… cup of tea.

But hats off to the chef for originality.

PAY THE PIPER – HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST

So let’s get down to money.

Tasting Collective is reported as $165/year. I was charged $99 upon signing up for my first event (I think I was an early adopter).

That $165/year does not include the events.

That gives you the opportunity to be invited to these private dinners.

Emails about upcoming events are sent typically 3 weeks in advance.

But spots FILL FAST. From what I’ve seen, events are usually booked within a few days after they send an email.

So…If an event catches your eye, I suggest book it immediately.

Dinners are $50 a piece. Excluding taxes and tips. If you want to bring a guest, you can. For another $50 a pop.

Oh but don’t forget drinks…

THIS $375 COST BREAKDOWN WILL NOT HURT YOUR HEAD

Subscription: $165/year

Event: $50 x 2people = $100… PLUS $50 (tax & tips for 2) equals $150.

Great. We’re halfway there.

$150 +$60 (drinks for 2) equals $210.

Add the subscription together ($165) WITH the event tix + drinks ($210)

And you get… $375.00.

That was easy.

FINAL QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

Is Tasting Collective worth it?

  • Yes if you use it a few times a year.
  • but Miscellaneous costs may be too much for some people… (can your budget afford to pay $375 for a 2-person meal… once a month?? That’s your decision)

How could it become better?

tl;dr rdecuce event cost or add more value.

This answer is long (Feel free to skip it). It contains my pricing recommendation (it’s more for Tasting Collective owners and the events team, but you’re welcome to read)

The subscription price is fair but decrease event costs.

  • Option 1 – REDUCE EVENT COST cost but Change To monthly subscription. Set subscription price to $19.99/mos and make the events a flat $49.99 including tips and taxes. This comes out to an even $69.99 investment to users that includes a monthly subscription and a reasonable price to justify 1 event a month. Add a second guest at $49.99 for 50% off and that is a nice $100/mos. That would be a great and brilliant pricing strategy. This would enable Tasting Collective to get more users at that ridiculous $19.99 monthly subscription. Throw in a cancel anytime but rejoin off a waitlist and you have something brilliant there.
  • Option 2. Keep At $165/yr BUT Provide MORE VALUE. If you’re going to charge $75 for 1 person, then increase food portions and provide at least 2 complimentary beverages (alcohol included). The drink costs that we paid were fine but not on top of the food. The value provided wasn’t equal to the cost in my opinion in that exchange.

If you represent Tasting Collective, feel free to email me at albert@albertgkurian.com if you would like to discuss more value for your customers 🙂

Do I recommend TabeTomo?

  • Oh HELL YESS. Absolutely. Go now.

How does TabeTomo compare to other Japanese restaurants?

  • This isn’t your typical all-you-can east sushi or poke spot. The fare that I ate was authentically Japanese, but it was elevated with American and European influences. If you’re tired of bento boxes, poke, snobby little portions at Nobu or even getting tired of Omakase, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the old-school dishes meets new-school flavor at TabeTomo.

If I had to get 1 dish, what would you recommend?

  • Tsukemen. It’s their flagship dish. And rightly so.

CLOSING REMARKS

My 1st time at Tasting Collective ft. Justin (left)

If you are interested in joining the food lovers community at Tasting Collective, click this link for some additional information to learn more about their costs, cities, and offerings.

If you would like to read more about TabeTomo, then check out some reviews on Yelp and start salivating over their menu.

So there you have it.

My honest experience about the food community Tasting Collective and my first time at TabeTomo. #albertisreal

If you have any questions or comments, drop it the comments section below.

As always, please like and follow this blog to be notified of my new posts. No spam ever.

Cheers,

Albert the copywriter

P.S. When I’m not stuffing my face with ramen, I write. I provide copywriting services that improve businesses ROI even if they don’t even have an email list or Instagram yet. You can reach me at albert@albergkurian.com 🙂

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