Jose Garces Debuts Ticketed Dining At Volver

So now we have a date (of sorts) on Jose Garces’s Kimmel Center project, Volver. Word has just come down that, starting March 12, people will be able to purchase “tickets” to dine in the main dining room at Volver.

And how is this going to work exactly? It’s simple (kinda). There are essentially two rooms at Volver–a lounge and a dining room. The lounge will operate like a normal restaurant, allowing walk-in seating and all the stuff you’d expect from a normal restaurant experience. But the dining room will be open only to those who have bought a ticket for the nights performance (meaning dinner). Here’s the official description…

The 34-seat dining room will offer two nightly seatings for parties of two, four or six guests. The pre-theater tasting menu will feature 8 courses ranging from $75-$120 per person. The second seating will feature a first course of 4 snacks, followed by 12 courses, ranging from $175-$250 per person. Ticket purchase includes a table for two, four, or six guests, sparkling and still water, a 20% service charge and tax.

There will be an optional beverage pairing (not included in the ticket price) which can be tacked on when you buy your ticket, or a la carte drinks available. And starting in just a couple weeks, you’ll be able to purchase your tickets online at up to 60 days in advance, with new tickets being released every 30 days.

Okay, so what does all of this mean, exactly? Basically that, for the first time in Philly, you’re being asked to buy tickets for dinner the same way you would for a show–booking and paying in advance. It does NOT mean that Garces himself is going to be there every night (according to his people, the Iron Chef will be there for an indeterminate number of nights a month, in addition to being involved in the planning of menus and such), but does guarantee you a seat at the table, as it were. Essentially, you’re being asked to make a reservation and pay up front–nothing more and nothing less.

So the question then becomes, how badly do you want one of those tables? Are you willing to pony up the cash upfront for a completely unknown (and, at least for the time being, unknowable) experience? Basically, do you trust Jose Garces enough to hand him $250 and hope he (or his people) make you a dinner that’s worth it?

All Volver coverage [f8b8z]