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Money Roll

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When the Palace Restaurant opened with a $50 prix fixe back in the seventies, people were shocked. Then came the eighties and the Quilted Giraffe, whose $75 menu inspired a Daily News critic to say "Barry Wine might as well hold a gun to your head and demand your wallet.'' In 2000, Alain Ducasse broke the $100 barrier with a $160 six-course meal, becoming the most extravagant in New York. But not for long . . .

Masa Takayama, chef and owner of the Beverly Hills restaurant Ginza Sushiko -- which has a $300 per person minimum -- has inked a deal for a New York outpost in the new AOL Time Warner Building, set to open in Columbus Circle by August 2003. (The fourth floor, a veritable foodie heaven, will include the East Coast branch of Tom Keller's French Laundry and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's steakhouse, Prime.)

Once here, Takayama will set his sights even higher: "I will charge more," he declares. "Maybe $400 or $500 per person at dinner -- without alcohol."

Takayama doesn't use menus, preferring to chat to diners about their preferences before whipping up a 25-course feast, featuring such delicacies as roasted sea urchin with snow crab, and poached foie gras with tosazu vinaigrette. Mmm, sounds delicious. Let's just hope that by the time Takayama has laid out his chopsticks, AOL Time Warner's stock will have bounced back enough for execs to actually dine there.


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