I have noticed that a few well meaning guest's reviews have said that the food is so good that you should dine at The Vine "at least once." Really? I might be persuaded to jump out of a perfectly good airplane to sky dive at least once. I may walk across the state of Washington at least once. I actually would like to drive the coastline highway between Vancouver and Anchorage Alaska at least once, certainly not twice. I may eat caviar at least once. I hope to hike to the top of Mount Shasta, probably only once. I go to church at least once a year (I actually go every Sunday but I know people who go at least once a year). I plan to visit Machu Picchu at least once in my lifetime. I want to see Israel at least one time sometime before I die. Ditto for European countries. I wanted to be baptized at least once. I wanted to go to the first grade no more than one time, and I was not interested in repeating any of the other grades, though the first time through was a perfectly enjoyable experience but twice would not have been fun. You get the point.
But what does "At Least Once" have to do with great food. Of course, eating food is sort of like breathing. We all do it, one way or another. But breathing is a subconscious activity and we don't give it much thought except when we can't breath. Food, on the other hand, is a much higher cognitive activity. As Mary Catherine Beteson declared,"Human do not eat nutrients, they eat food." Of course, at the lowest level, we would all eat out of necessity, but as a matter of fact, we don't usually think of eating as something we have to do. Eating food is a conscious activity we do for enjoyment. I don't suppose you would think it strange that when my wife and I dine out, we go looking for outstanding venues where the food stimulates all our taste buds. When I find a place that accomplishes that, we certainly don't consider that we will go there "at least once" but many times.
I personally dine at one of the tables at The Vine nearly every month. I never leave the table unsatisfied and certainly not satiated with the experience, though I usually feel full. I always regret when the experience is over and find myself savoring the last flavors I just experienced, somehow wishing there was room for more. I certainly want to come back again. Similarly, there are other places in Walla Walla that I go to often because I love the experience and I never weary of eating good food at familiar places.
Okay, but I understand. Our price for fine dining may be a stumbling block for return visits. My dad would understand perfectly. "You charge how much for what?" he would have asked. A typical red neck comment from a farmer in Idaho. My father is only considering the practical aspects of eating nutrients. We are all about making great food. Besides talent and great instincts, savvy chefs also buy the best ingredients possible. These are often considerably more expensive so the cost of preparing this kind of fine dining cuisine will always be higher. Yet when guests consider what they are getting, we find that almost all of them affirm that the price was very reasonable, maybe even under-priced for what they received. If you want to hear what our guests think, check out this TripAdvisor review of The Vine.
"To the minority complaining about the price, I'm guessing those folks have likely never been out of Pasco/Tri-Cities in their lives, rarely frequent any nice restaurants, and have absolutely no idea what gourmet food actually costs. $65 per person for this seven course dinner is an absolute friggin' steal! I've easily paid 4-5 times that for similar dinners at other gourmet restaurants, and normal dinners in some of the bigger cities (Beverly Hills/LA, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, etc.) have easily cost me $200/person after a good bottle of wine and tip. I'm from the Southern California wine country myself, have been WELL around the block, and know what a good gourmet meal costs.
If you want a $10 dinner, go to Denny's. If you want an exquisite dinner from a gourmet restaurant, you've got it right here, at a heck of a good price! Keep up the great work!"