With the price of oil at an 11-year low, longtime River Oaks restaurant Ouisie's Table is using the current cost of a barrel of crude oil to price a weekly three-course dinner for guests on Wednesday nights.
Although it might sound farfetched, the concept of pricing meals against the cost of oil isn't foreign to Houston restaurants. Steve Zimmerman, owner of the historic boutique hotel La Colombe d'Or — as well as the classic restaurant now known as Cinq — made national headlines during the 1980s oil bust by offering an executive lunch for the day's price of oil. Zimmerman revived the "Oil Barrel Special" in early 2015 when crude oil barrels were priced around $45, roughly 30 percent higher than the current price of around $30.
Zimmerman's groundbreaking idea even made international headlines during the '80s oil bust with the lunch special selling for $9 at one point.
"It was fun back in 1986," Zimmerman told CultureMap in 2015. "People would call us everyday and ask what the special was. If they didn't like it, I'd just tell them to come in tomorrow because the menu changed everyday."
Similarly, the upcoming "Oil Barrel Bargain" dinners at Ouisie's Table will featuring a rotating three-course menu that will be priced according to the closing price of crude that day.
This week's menu at Ouisie's Table starts with your choice of the Soup du Jour or a House Salad. Second course options include Ouisie's Herb Crusted Prime Rib and Gulf Coast Snapper, and desserts include Lemon Ice Box Pie and Black Magic Cake. The menu is tentatively priced at $28 as of Monday, but the price depends on the closing price of oil on the day of the dinner.