Dining Out in New York For Less Than $6,000 a Day - Part 2

A Guide to Help You Navigate New York's Most Expensive Restaurants on a Budget of Only $6,000!

(This is the second in a series of articles which show that, yes, it is possible to eat three enjoyable meals at some of New York's most expensive restaurants for less than $6,000 per day. The following is taken from a correspondence between The Culinary Muser and an unnamed client.)

I trust you had an exquisite breakfast experience at Norma's and, though I didn't mention it beforehand, I'd very much appreciate it if, next time, you don't ask for a doggie bag.

Yes, I know it's a lot of food, but please remember that you have engaged my services to help preserve your image during these trying financial times. Thoughtless actions like that only serve to undermine all the good I'm trying to do.

Ok, now for lunch

I realize that Fridays are always "lunch at the club," but if you'll recall, we're on an extremely limited budget and must plan your meals smartly so that you may "dine" instead of "chow" tonight at dinner.

Fortunately, lunch recommendations are my specialty. My favorite one, for example, is the Magic, Martinis, and Mario custom lunch that my good friend Mario Batali (Molto Mario on the Food Network and owner of Babbo Restaurant) puts on along with his magician pal Billy Harris and bartender Tony Abou-Ganim.

Billy's got a killer magic act to entertain you before the meal, and Tony creates custom cocktails that perfectly compliment Mario's lunch courses. I believe the guys usually operate out of Las Vegas, but for the right price I'm sure Mario would consider hosting the event in New York. And, oh yeah, you don't have to dine alone. You can bring anywhere from 9 to 999 of your closest friends.

Unfortunately for you, this lunch package starts at $100,000 and as you know, that's a price that's way out of your league these days. Still there's no sense crying over spilt quiante. I've got another recommendation that I'm sure you'll enjoy just as--


Yes, as a matter of fact, I do know that you hate it when I mention things you can't have because it always makes you want them more, but maybe you'll remember that little tidbit the next time you give away a quarter of a point in a negotiation just to "get the deal done."

Now, finally, here's my lunch recommendation. Take it or leave it. Building on the strategy that we laid out earlier (big breakfast, small lunch, nice dinner), I'm going to recommend something a little out of the ordinary for you for lunch. I recommend…

…a hamburger.

Before you say anything, yes, I remember the "I-have-to-get-my-manager" moment that occurred the last time you purchased a quarter-pounder and paid with a hundred dollar bill. And, no, I really don't know what's so damned funny about being called "college boy," but I'm sure the guy meant it in a nice way.

This place isn't like that. I'm talking about DB Bistro Moderne on West 44th Street, and their version of the hamburger comes stuffed with foie gras, black truffles and braised short ribs. It's pretentious, expensive, and a blue collar Joe who knows what a "real" burger tastes like wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. That's how I know you'll love it.

Best of all, it's relatively quick, and you should be done with lunch in time to make your weekly squash game at the club.

Enjoy lunch and the rest of your afternoon. I'll be back after your steam and massage to fill you in on your dinner plans.

The Culinary Muser

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