A Frugal Millionaire's Guide Through New York City's Most Expensive Restaurants
(This is the third in a series of articles which show that, yes, it is possible to eat three enjoyable meals at some of New York's finest restaurants for less than $6,000 per day. What follows is the evening portion of a tightly-budgeted meal plan created by the Culinary Muser for an unnamed client.)
When I accepted your challenge to create a plan that would allow you to dine at some of the best restaurants in New York City on the limited budget of $6,000, I must confess that I underestimated the difficulty involved.
Not with the mission, of course, for I knew that, with all its variety, New York could provide satisfying culinary experiences for any price range. I mean, I certainly would recommend Norma's $1000 omelet to clients with 10 times the budget as you and no, I wouldn't consider the $29 hamburger from DB Bistro Moderne "bourgeois finger food," but a refreshing, upscale twist on an American staple.
But this latest development is the last straw. I've budgeted the whole day up to this point to accommodate one person, and now you inform me that you not only want a fine dining experience for TWO, but a romantic evening beginning with cocktails and ending with dessert.
I could go on ad infinitum about my current state of annoyance, but I realize that the sooner I finish this request, the sooner my job will be completed. Below you'll find the itinerary for this evening. Bon apetite.
My suggestion for pre-dinner cocktails is Ice Bar at the Duvet Restaurant and Lounge where you and your date can enjoy one of their signature drinks like a Purple Haze, White Satin Mojito, or their premium cocktail, the Duvet Platinum Passion, while watching over 100 exotic jellyfish swim in the 8 x 15 foot aquarium behind the bar.
If you do order the Platinum Passions, made of L'Ã©sprit de Courvoisier, Ruinart Champagne, and a proprietary syrup made of passion fruit, berries, and honey, please try to limit your intake to just one or two as these beauties go for $1500/drink.
(Now, can you see why I'm more than just a little peeved about the extravagances you've added to the dinner selection?)
Whatever you do, I, along with your accountant and the ghost of Dorothy Parker, beg you to stay away from the Algonquin Hotel's Blue Bar for pre-dinner cocktails. I know how infantile and impetuous you can be around things you know you can't afford, and I'm afraid that the $10,000 Martini on the Rock, which is served with a 1.52 karat diamond, may be a temptation too great for you to resist.
Besides, I worry that the tart accompanying you for the evening might get the wrong idea!
(Errâ€¦ sorry for that last comment, but after our brief professional relationship, I'm now starting to take your ex-wife's side in the society pages.)
For dinner this evening, I've secured you a reservation at Masa in the Time Warner Center. Don't let the shopping mall location fool you, though, this Japanese restaurant is among the best of the best in New York City.
The place only seats 26 people and is booked months in advance, yet I've somehow managed to reserve you two seats at the bar. At Masa, the bar features the best seats in the house because you can watch and talk to Masa Takayama, the owner and chef, as he prepares delicacy after delicacy right before your eyes.
Masa also features one of the best sake lists I've seen this side of the Pacific Rim. Might I recommend the Kikuhime Sake at $400 per carafe. It's of excellent quality, much less expensive than the Ice Bar's fruity cocktails, and, I'm sure, will make your date's time with you much more enjoyable.
Finally, where else to go for dessert other than New York City's premiere ice cream parlor, Serendipity? Their own website describes it as the type of place you'd find if Dr. Seuss, Andy Warhol, and Willy Wonka all decided to throw an ice cream party.
Though known for their signature ice cream concoctions, such as Cheesecake Vesuvius, Strawberry Fields Sundae, and Frozen Hot Chocolate, I get the feeling I already know which menu item will catch your eyeâ€¦ the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae.
This one of a kind sundae, created in celebration of the restaurant's "golden" anniversary, consists of five scoops of Tahitian Vanilla bean ice cream, Madagascar vanilla, 23k edible gold leaf, Amedei Porceleana chocolate (the most expensive in the world), Parisian candied fruits, gold dragets, truffles, Marzipan cherries, American Golden caviar (a salt free dessert caviar), passion fruit, orange, Armagnac, all topped off with a Ron Ben-Israel gilded sugar flower.
It's a lot of food for one person, so be sure to ask for a second 18k gold spoonâ€”or just use the silver one you've been carrying in your mouth since birth.
There you have it. With that final recommendation, I have completed my mission. Here again are the totals, sans tax and gratuity.
Norma's Omelette $1,000
DB Bistro Moderne Hamburger $29
Cocktails at Ice Bar $3,000
Dinner for Two at Masa $1,000
Golden Opulence Sundae from Serendipity $1,000
Grand Totalâ€¦ $6,029.
The $29 is your penalty for not being more forthcoming about the extravagant nature of your dinner plans. My penalty was taking you on as a client in the first place.
The Culinary Muser