It’s one thing to indulge in a meal; it’s quite another to invest in one.
For foodies with fat wallets, the allure of an over-the-top dining experience is reason enough to justify spending hundreds of dollars in a single sitting. The curiosity and intrigue generated by outrageously-priced meals hasn’t diminished even in these tough economic times: U.K. chef Martin Blunos made headlines in September when he concocted a $174 cheese sandwich and New York eatery Serendipity 3 did the same when it unveiled a $69 hot dog back in July.
Whether or not an overly-expensive dish is a “real” luxury or a public-relations gimmick can certainly be argued; the aforementioned Serendipity 3, for instance, has a long history of adding “buzz-worthy” creations to its otherwise moderate menu, setting world records with its $1,000 ice-cream sundae, four-gallon mug of hot chocolate and fancy frankfurter.
But that’s an argument for another day.
For now, here’s a look at a few extravagant edibles your bank account may have trouble digesting:
The $1,000 Omelette
Six years after it first debuted, the $1,000 frittata at Norma’s in New York’s Le Parker Meridien hotel continues to draw attention. Called the “Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata”, the dish is made with six eggs, lobster claws and 10 oz. of Sevruga caviar. (A scaled-down version of the dish contains 1 oz. of caviar and checks in at a still-pricey $100.)
The upscale restaurant has sold about a dozen overall, but only one this year, according to Steven Pipes, managing director for Le Parker Meridien.
“The last one was a gentleman from South America who ordered it for the table,” he says. “It is meant to be shared.”
Pipes said the dish was created because it fit with the Norma’s brand, which prides itself on offering patrons the “foods your mom never let you have.”
He also credits the dish with sparking a trend in the restaurant world.
“We actually introduced this before the whole craze of dishes with an outrageous price tag… they all followed.”
Interesting tidbit: Norma’s sells about 50 of the $100 frittatas each year.
The $2,700 Private Picnic
Picnics are typically regarded as one of the most low-key forms of dining, but that’s not always the case.
in seclusion. Price: $2,700. (Source: Noble House Hotels & Resorts)
At luxury boutique hotel Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in the Florida Keys, guests have the chance to be picked up in a sea plane and flown to a nearby private island of their choice for a gourmet meal served on the beach.
The whole event – including flight and meal – lasts three hours and begins at $2,700 per couple.
“It’s the ultimate sort of romantic private-dining experience,” said Rebecca Kollaras, the hotel’s director of public relations.
The standard picnic menu includes charcuterie, champagne and other goodies, but can be changed to suit a guest's wishes. Photographers, videographers and musical entertainment can also be arranged for the occasion; one couple recently brought along a string trio.
“It’s not like you’re going to the beach and you’ve got your bucket of fried chicken. It’s really elegant,” said Kollaras.
The hotel began offering the private-picnic service this summer and about six couples have participated.
Interesting tidbit: For those who prefer not to travel, the hotel’s Chef Luis Pous and two staff members will venture to your home and create a customized menu for you and nine of your friends. The chef has gone to three homes over the past year and a half – one of which was in Idaho. The fee is $10,000, not including travel or food costs.
The $450+ Sushi Dinner
at home – for a fee of $10,000. (Source: Noble House Hotels & Resorts)
The restaurant’s multi-course prix fixe dinner currently runs about $450 – not including beverages or tax. Meals are comprised of five specially-crafted appetizers, plates of 15 to 20 types of seafood flown in from Japan, and a dessert course, according to the restaurant’s menu as listed on MenuPages.com. Ingredients depend on seasonal availability and are prepared by the revered Chef Masa Takayama.
Beverages can cost as little or as much as you wish – the menu features a $7 beer at the low end and a $3,200 bottle of wine at the high.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of Masa’s dining experience, though, is the fact that it must attract very committed diners: canceling or changing your party’s reservation without 48 hours notice could result in a charge of $200 per person.
Interesting tidbit: Masa advises patrons that they should allow two hours for dinner and says the dress code is “casual and comfortable.”