The Most Expensive Meals We’ve Ever Paid For

steak house

My first job out of college was fact-checking restaurant listings. Every day, I called 25 restaurants in New York City to see if any of their information had changed, asking if their curtains were still red, their bathrooms still adorned with lavender sprigs, if their salad was still served with strawberries, if their servers still donned bow ties. With time, I had a mental Rolodex of places I wanted to eat, and Peter Luger Steak House, a restaurant so fancy it has its own Wikipedia page, was at the top.

When given the chance to celebrate a two-and-a-half-year anniversary, I chose steak. My boyfriend was game. Happy steak-iversary to us.

If people judge the appeal of brunch places by the length of the assembled line, then I suppose we can judge dinner places by how far in advance one has to make a dinner reservation. Five weeks in advance, I called the steakhouse to get a table for a Sunday night dinner. Only two reservation times were left: 4:30 and 9:45. We took the latter.

I broke my “savings-are-to-be-saved” promise to myself and withdrew $140 dollars from my account. That night, decked out in our finest, we rode the B44 bus to Williamsburg (a cab would’ve cost too much).

Here is what we ate:

• Four slices of bacon: When people find out you’re going to Peter Luger’s, they tell you to order the bacon. They are right.

• One iceberg salad: This was my boyfriend’s decision, and a foolish one, because no one should order salad at a steakhouse. It did, however, come topped with more bacon, so it was a draw.

• The porterhouse for two: This is the story we tell people when they ask us what the food was like. While waiting, we yammered. We fawned over the bacon. We giggled at the old-school service. We held hands across the dark wood table and made eyes at each other. Then the steak arrived. We shut up. Our hands were never far from our plates, our eyes were rolled back in our heads, our brains could not process the immense pleasure that could come from a cut of meat. It is easily the best thing I have ever tasted.

• Creamed spinach, which was pretty good.

• An ice cream sundae, some cheesecake, and a beer.

We rolled ourselves home, bags full with leftovers (they make you take the rolls) and the little chocolate coins they give you after dinner. My share was $120, the same I’d pay for a loan payment, a month’s worth of groceries, or going home to see my parents three times. Still, it seems like a bargain.

I asked other people to tell me about the most expensive meal they ever paid for. Here are their stories:

Megan Reynolds:
My ex-boyfriend and I had both read Heat by Bill Buford around the same time, and were happily in thrall to the magic of Mario Batali by the time we moved to New York. When my ex got a job that paid an awful lot of money, he took us out for a night on the town at Babbo, which is on some charming street in the West Village. I am thinking very hard to remember what we ordered, but I think we got some sort of burrata appetizer, the love letter pasta which were basically very expensive ravioli, half a bottle of wine and a $75 order of osso bucco for two, which was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. We weren’t really paying attention to price as we ordered, but made an effort to not go too HAM. The final bill was around $250-$300, which made me want to maybe throw up everything I had just eaten, because that is an AWFUL LOT OF MONEY FOR SOME PASTA AND STUFF.

He paid! Because he said he was going to, and because I was like, “Listen, I can leave some of the tip, but I do not have money like that, and this was your idea, fool.” We did have leftovers, which I think I ate in a haze the next day, and the train ride home was uncomfortable, only because I was full up to my eyeballs and suffering from the meat sweats. Still, it was worth it.

Ellen Stuart:
My boyfriend Cam and I were on a roadtrip in the Midwest—he’d just graduated from college and I had just finished my sophomore year. We spent a couple days in Chicago and on our last night there we decided we wanted to go out for a nice dinner (meaning, like, $20-entree-nice). We didn’t have smartphones (no Yelp) so we were relying on the Chicago guidebook we’d brought. Somehow we settled on Morton’s, because the original is in Chicago (at the time I didn’t even know it was a chain) and because Fodor’s city guide said it was “$$.”

We didn’t even figure it out until we were sitting down. The least expensive steak on the menu was $60. At this point we’d already ordered drinks. Both of us being rule-abiding oldest children, we just stared at each other in horror, trying to figure out if there was any graceful way to pay for one Diet Coke and one $12 Guinness and get the hell out of there. There was not. We stayed.

We ordered the $60 steak, one side of hash brown potatoes and maybe a plate of asparagus. To the credit of Morton’s, we were treated beautifully. The bill, including the tip, was $120. Now that we both have good jobs and live in a city, we’ve maybe spent close to that much on a meal a couple of times, on a birthday or anniversary, but as college kids from suburban New Hampshire, that bill was unfathomable. I sent a hissy email to Fodor’s when we got home. The steak was delicious.

Dan Post:
I had always wanted to go to Joel Robuchon’s restaurant in Las Vegas since it was one of the most expensive restaurants in Vegas (the fact that it had three Michelin Stars also kind of appealed to me). One of my family’s favorite restaurants in Las Vegas also happened to be Pink’s Hot Dogs right next to Planet Hollywood. My dad and I came up with an idea while we were in Vegas a couple years ago, mostly in a joking manner. We wanted to bet a large amount of money on roulette or blackjack or a sports game where if we won we would use our winnings to pay for dinner at JR’s and if we lost we would go to Pink’s Hot Dogs and have some very expensive hot dogs.

It was definitely a win-win. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a reservation at Joel Robuchon, so instead we went to Le Cirque at The Bellagio, almost as good and (most importantly) super expensive.

We perused over the menu and found the tasting menu and quickly decided on it. While we waited for our waiter to take our official order, we decided since this was a (virtually) free meal we might as well go for the wine pairing with it.

The final cost of our meal for two was $580 after tip, but including our winnings it was only about $220. Still expensive, but well worth it for the meal we had. It may have even been a better meal than we would have had at Pink’s.

Katie Schmidt:
I, a jobless college senior, (alarmingly, unknowingly) spent $300 on a dinner at Gotham Bar & Grill while entertaining a certain Australian boy-toy when he was in town for a visit. The dinner (for 2 people) was $250 with a $50 tip. He had paid for a Broadway show ticket and a Yankee game ticket (which I estimate totaled no more than $100), so I wanted to repay him. Also, after the waiter had taken my credit card, he placed the receipt in my date’s hand instead of mine, despite the fact that the first name of the cardholder was quite obviously “Kathryn.” When my date saw the look of horror on my face as a result of the price and the slight from the waiter, he offered to chip in, but pride prevented me from accepting. I made a point of not going out to eat/avoided shopping for quite a while.

John Sherman:
My boyfriend and I typically go Dutch, with the exception of our birthdays, but he’d recently learned the job he’d moved to New York to take might be disappearing, so I, steadily employed, quietly planned to pay for dinner so we could celebrate without adding to his cash-flow stress. I knew he likely wouldn’t agree to this beforehand, irrespective of or maybe due to his job situation (we really love going Dutch), so we set out with a tacit understanding that we’d split the bill in some way, at least. We hadn’t made a reservation, since it was a Monday in late January, only to discover/remember that our favorite spot is closed Mondays, so we decided to wander and see where our stomachs might lead us. This feels cosmopolitan and romantic on an April or September afternoon, but is physically punishing at 8 p.m. in January. We happened on Dino, defrosted our contact lenses, and enjoyed a lovely meal. After dessert, I checked the time and saw an email on my phone saying something I wrote would be published. In a fit of excitement, I insisted on covering the entire meal myself, and on the way home I bought a ($10) bottle of wine to celebrate. The publication paid $0, but I was too giddy with good news and a great night out to mind the expense, or even the weather. Cheap habits die hard, but a special occasion has a way of taking the guilt out of a pricey dinner. I paid with my credit card, comfortably covering the expense with my next paycheck, and left a cash tip. It came to $110.

Jessie Lochrie:
A few years ago, I had just moved back to NYC after a breakup and a few months spent licking my wounds in Massachusetts. A friend who I wasn’t very close to invited me to her birthday dinner, along with my two lady BFFs. On the day of, both my lady BFFs bailed, and I decided to go anyway because I was hungry for new friends and everything in NYC is so exciting when you’ve been gone for a while, or you’ve just moved there.

The dinner is at a brand new, super trendy restaurant in Brooklyn. It ends up being about eight girls, all a few years older than me and gainfully employed, and absolutely WILDED OUT at this dinner. They ordered more or less everything on the menu for everyone to split, and who knows how many bottles of wine. Anyway, my share ended up being a hair over $100. Maybe it was $120. On a Tuesday night. As an unemployed college student. I texted my lady BFFs in shock, and they informed me that the birthday girl had a notorious reputation as a foodie and tendency to host these expensive dinners, which was half of why they’d ducked out.

“I meant to warn you!” one of them said.

Waiting for the train, I ran into the girl I’d been sitting across from at dinner. We ended up splitting a bag of chips she’d picked up at the bodega while waiting for the L because we were still hungry. Turns out $100 of perfectly roasted artichoke split with 8 other girls isn’t that filling.

Ellen Cushing:
A couple years ago, in honor of our 10-year (!!) anniversary, my best friend and I decided to go out for a Very Fancy Dinner. We each wore bright red lipstick, and I’m pretty sure she wore a fur coat, and in retrospect we must’ve looked like grade-A loons, so dressed up on a Tuesday night at an impossibly-nice-for-24-year-olds-making-no-money-but-definitely-not-fancy-in-any-empirical-way New American restaurant in downtown Oakland. She got salmon and I got, I think, an entire roasted chicken and we split a couple bottles of nice wine. I believe the total came out to about $70 each. To this day it remains the loveliest date I’ve ever been on.

Anonymous:
Our friends were in from out of town, so we met at an Italian place on the West Side. The entrees were in the standard $20-$25 range and we shared a couple of appetizers. I know nothing about Italian wines so I deferred to our friend, who chose the first bottle. I had no idea what he ordered, but figured it was reasonably priced since none of us are ballers. At some point, we announced that dinner was our treat. After which they ordered five more bottles. End result: $460, before tip. My boyfriend and I paid for the whole thing. I’m really bad at confronting monetary situations, and I’ll seldom ask for money that I am owed. When I do, I feel guilty. I didn’t try to get out of it, but I feel like I should have. We put it on a high rewards credit card, and we CAN afford it, but only at the cost of other things and it just felt crappy. I was in a really bad mood for a few days. If I had eaten something exotic or exceptionally delicious, I wouldn’t have felt as hurt, but I later saw the wine for $12 in a liquor store and I was like, “aww, man.”

 

Jazmine Hughes lives in Brooklyn.

Photo: Mith Huang

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54 Comments / Post A Comment

rhinoceranita (#5,858)

$275 for s birthday dinner for my exbf at a sushi/steak house.

garli (#4,150)

Hilariously enough the most I have spent on one meal still included a travelzoo voucher. It was for the tasting menu at The Biltmore in Montecito. $100 for a four course menu with a glass of prosecco for each person. After another glass of wine each, coffee with the dessert course and tip it was another $100. The food was great, the service and view was worth every penny and I’m pretty sure with out the deal it would have been another 100 bucks.

julebsorry (#1,572)

Over $800 for dinner for two at Eleven Madison Park, including wine pairing. It was our first anniversary. So expensive, and yet, somehow, still totally worth it. Best meal I’ve ever had in my life. If you want to be treated like an absolute rock star for one night (and I mean, the total Beyonce and Jay-Z experience), it’s worth the splurge as a once in a lifetime thing if you can swing it.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@julebsorry That place is on my list whenever we make it back up to NYC. So nice to hear it’s worth it!

@andnowlights I went once and someone else paid and so it was PERFECT

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Ester Bloom ha, getting someone else to pay is the trick, isn’t it? Our most expensive meal was just me and my husband, but funded by a very kind gift from my parents.

julebsorry (#1,572)

@andnowlights Seriously worth it. It cost about the same as a nice weekend vacation – and yet, I think I left that place feeling MORE relaxed and amazing than I ever have on a vacation. The huge amounts of booze probably helped, lol. At the end, they take you on a tour of the kitchen and make you a special frozen-nitrogen cocktail (based on preferences they’ve picked up on you expressing throughout the meal) while you watch all the chefs work their magic. Then they literally dance you out the door, pressing gifts into your hands as you leave. They also gave us printed keepsake menus of everything we ate, and then separate menus with the wine pairing on them. I have them framed in my hallway now.

Really, it’s a truly special experience (and if anyone goes based on this review, Daniel Humm owes me a freebie!).

julebsorry (#1,572)

@Ester Bloom LUCKY!!! I am officially jealous – the only thing I can think of better than EMP is free EMP.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

@julebsorry I went there for lunch with my parents once on a family trip to NYC. They paid (yay) and it was, absolutely, one of the best meals I have ever eaten, and such a lovely experience. This was before they revamped the menu to be like, that NYC tasting thing. I was so giddy the entire time.

And then afterwards we got concretes from Shake Shack because DUH.

Best day.

jquick (#3,730)

@julebsorry It’s just food. To me, NO way a meal is “worth” $800. Sounds like being treated like a rock star or “Someone of Importance” was more of the draw. And if course telling everyone you know.

Allison (#4,509)

@jquick just like you get the sense of importance from telling people on the internet how they’re living their lives wrong!

jenny0 (#6,933)

@jquick not sure how you can be this judgmental about a) how other people get their ( harmless) kicks and giggles and b) how they spend the money THEY earned. No one judges you for being a whiny, buzzkill!

Now I’m mad at the guy who ordered a bunch more bottles of wine when you said you’d pay! That is just not nice.

BornSecular (#2,245)

@apples and oranges Truth! Seriously, that is never ok.

@fo (#839)

@apples and oranges

It’s a total, ridiculous, faux pas. Or sign that your “friends” aren’t really your friends.

A friend was out to dinner with “friends” and he said he’d buy the wine, and the “friends” could buy the food. The “friends” proceeded to order two of the most expensive bottle on the menu (to the tune of $500+). I heard about it, with the tone of bitterness as if it just happened, years later.

Allison (#4,509)

@@fo who the fuck does that?

andnowlights (#2,902)

$500, Catbird Seat, Nashville (included the upgraded alcohol pairings, which were totally worth it). We actually went for our anniversary last year and have reservations again this year. I don’t know if I can stomach that price again (also, that much alcohol- I was SO DRUNK), though, since we have a big trip in October and we’re working on the student loan. I might cancel the reservations I made at midnight a month in advance, but I also really want to go again!

bgprincipessa (#699)

@andnowlights So this is where I should have gone instead, huh? I wish I had thought to ask someone instead of just relying on internet reviews. (see my comment down below)

mike dang said he’s take me out for birthday dinner wherever i want so i’m taking copious notes, guys. keep those suggestions coming!

julebsorry (#1,572)

@Ester Bloom Blue Hill Stone Barns! Take the train up – it’s a really amazing way to spend a day (and lots of Mike’s $$$).

OllyOlly (#669)

Dinner at a now closed restaurant in DC, Suna, which my boyfriend paid for. It must have totaled a little over $200. We got a 8 course tasting menu and a bottle of wine. In hindsight I should have refused, since he didn’t really have the money. But he was just so excited to have a full time job and finally be able to take me out to dinner.

The food was amazing.

BornSecular (#2,245)

Hahahahaha I have aspirations of being a foodie, so once a year my husband and I go out for a nice dinner for our anniversary. We have done this 5 times now, and each time it gets progressively more expensive. We live in KC so I think restaurants are more reasonably priced than NYC, but I may be making this up.

Last year we went to Bluestem and did the 5 course tasting menu with wine pairings. It ended up being over $300. I also felt sick, mostly from all the food, which was amazing and included amuse buches between EVERY course. I love food & and am willing to pay a bit for experiences instead of things. Eating out and traveling are my expensive weaknesses.

Cup of T (#2,533)

Relevant to Ellen Cushing’s post, I present you one of the most excellent lines from the Michelle Pfeiffer classic “Dangerous Minds”:

Student Ms. Pfeiffer is treating to dinner as a reward for something: “I’ll have the chicken? A whole one?”
Pfeiffer: “And I’ll have the same.”

Cup of T (#2,533)

@Cup of T Also my most pricey meal was probably when I took my boyfriend for dinner on the beach in Grenada. We both had a couple of ridiculously good cocktails, he got an appetizer of conch [sea snail, he loves all seafood and had never got the chance to try it], a main of lobster, and a passionfruit cheesecake dessert. I don’t remember what I got because I don’t eat seafood and seeing how excited/in food heaven he was was far more delicious than anything I could have eaten (maybe I got like pasta? Vegetarianism is hard in the non-rastafarian parts of the Caribbean). It cost something like $100.

Cup of T (#2,533)

@Cup of T And we were right on the beach! Like candelit table on the sand with the waves lapping (almost) at our feet! So worth it.

laluchita (#2,195)

My partner got a Fulbright and was out of the country for a year. He didn’t spend all of his living stipend, and to celebrate his return, we ate at Alinea. It was about $500 for the two of us, including tip, and no wine pairing but probably 4 really nice beers. I was a little worried it might be disappointed, but honestly, it was kind of amazing. They were really nice and not snooty at all, it was delicious and magical, and at the end of it Grant Achatz made a giant frozen chocolate egg in front of us and then smashed it all over our table. I don’t know if we’d ever do it again, but even though that was a huge amount of money I’m really glad we spent it.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@laluchita Alinea is on my list for the next time we’re in Chicago (probably 2015)!

laluchita (#2,195)

@andnowlights We had to get a reservation months in advance, and at like 5 or 5:30, but the early hour was actually nice, since we were the first people being served in our area, which means that each course was a surprise. And I mean, like edible helium balloon surprise! But do it! It’s a once in a lifetime experience!

bgprincipessa (#699)

I don’t remember exactly, but I *think* my most expensive meal was a few months ago when I was visiting Nashville. We were on vacation so we thought it’d be nice to go somewhere we wouldn’t usually. We went to a place called Etch, and I just looked up my credit card bill – turns out it was only $112 for the 2 of us. So hmph, not as expensive as I remembered. I was rather disappointed with the meal, actually. It wasn’t bad, just not as special as I was hoping.
Another time I went on a 2nd date with a guy to one of the more expensive restaurants in my city (Pazo, Baltimore), and he paid for the whole thing and it had to be a good amount. And then we only went on 2 more dates. Even at the time I thought he was crazy for taking me there on a 2nd date.
ETA: Like, he was trying to impress me, but instead of being impressed I just thought he was nuts. Backfire.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@bgprincipessa Oooh there are lots of places I would have recommended over Etch (which I’ve never been to but have heard it’s only okay). Nashville is heavily into the “upscale southern” thing right now. It’s hard to find a good restaurant that ISN’T doing it, but they’re doing it well and it’s my favorite kind of food (born and raised in the South) so I’m okay with it. Husk is awesome and so is Lockland Table, if you’re ever in the area again!

Edited to add: Catbird seat is $125 a person not including tax or tip, I think, so while definitely pricier than Etch, totally worth it. You do need to make reservations a month in advance, too.

jillcool (#2,123)

@bgprincipessa The last time I was in Nashville, we went to Jimmy Kelly’s. I thought it was super delish and I’m not sure how much the bill was because my parents paid. I know we had several bottles of wine plus a bottle of champagne and several drinks.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@andnowlights well I would definitely love to go back, so I’ll have to remember this (or ask next time!). Now that you mention it though, I was very late on the planning this time around, so that may have been why I chose Etch (and even that was like a 9pm reservation – a bit late for us, we had to have several snacks beforehand)

ceereelyo (#3,552)

As of latest memory, I would say it was last fall with my friend (of F&W fame) for his birthday at The Elm in Brooklyn, a place he wanted to try. I want to say it was an even $100 for my share, and I wanted to treat him but he wouldn’t allow me too (I bought him a drink at Pouring Ribbons thereafter). The meal was good and the space and ambiance was nice and my favorite memory of the meal were the petite baguettes the server would give you from his little box with individual compartments in which the little breads would stick out and they would walk around and ask you if you wanted another one, and of course they were fresh from the oven and were sublime.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

Spent $300 on an amazing meal in Las Vegas at L’Atelier Joel Robuchon (the less fancy slightly less expensive but just as delicious Joel Robuchon restaurant, right next to the Joel Robuchon restaurant listed above). It was wonderful. We had so much food. We had Iberian ham. I’d go back in a heartbeat. That and the meal I had (but did not pay for) at 11 Madison Park, those meals both rank very very very high in my memory and my/my parents’ check book. Then again, my parents have been to French Laundry, so I’m guessing that was probably the most expensive meal *they* have ever had.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@TheDilettantista $300 for Iberian ham is a steal. :-)

andnowlights (#2,902)

@TheDilettantista We were in San Francisco two years ago and I was SO SAD we didn’t have time to go to the French Laundry. There are not words to how mad I was that we didn’t get to go.

RachelW (#2,605)

Winter break of my freshman year of college my (initially high school, then long distance, now ex) boyfriend and I decided to go out to a fancy dinner at a restaurant in the exurbs of Cleveland that looked over some not very impressive waterfalls. We exchanged terrible Christmas gifts* over our Coca Colas (being too young and scared to try to order wine) while perusing the menu, trying to decide what we could afford (this was long before the days when you could look at menus on the internets and make these decisions before it was too late to escape). The waitress suggested the surf and turf, and I can’t remember exactly what shes said, but she phrased it in a way that led us to believe it would be the most economical option (I didn’t yet know that anything with the words “market price” next to it should be avoided by broke college students). Our bill came back at well over $100, and although my boyfriend had said that he would pay, it turned out to be much more than he had planned for, and since I had a credit card and he didn’t, I paid (my parents had approved use of the card for emergencies, and I guessed even a lobster related emergency counted). Important lessons about not ordering things you don’t know the cost of were learned that night.

*I gave him a coffee table book, he gave me an electric lady shaver. We both went home offended.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@RachelW “he gave me an electric lady shaver. ” OMG.

EmilyStarr (#4,035)

Pre-kids (and even for one special birthday post-kids), we used to treat ourselves to very nice meals about once a year. The most expensive were probably Minibar in DC (in 2009, when it was still only 6 seats) and Gary Danko in San Francisco. Gary Danko was delicious, but weird, primarily because of the surrounding tables, which included a caricature of a mobster with his trophy mistress and a very loud group of very young tech execs.

E$ (#1,636)

About $200 with tip at Topolobampo (a Rick Bayless joint) in Chicago. It was for my boyfriend’s birthday and I thought my meal was too expensive for what it was, but he was OVER THE MOON happy so I consider it money well spent.

Carlos.Xavier (#3,600)

Me and a friend worked our way through the PDT menu. 9 cocktails, 2 hot dogs, and half a basket of jalapeno cheese fries later the bartender shook our hands and congradulated us on a truely impressive evening. just north of $200 after tax and tip.

I think this counts, on account of the hot dogs.

Le Bernardin. Worth every one of the many, many dollars.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose Yessssssssss! Totally worth every penny. My husband longs for that meal more than any other.

In Chicago, probably about $150 just for myself at Schwa, Graham Elliot and Maestro. Maestro was worth it. Schwa and Graham Elliot were not.

ThatJenn (#916)

My ex-husband was really into fancy dinners at celebrity chef restaurants and I thank goodness we were living in a rural-ish college town while we were together and mostly didn’t get to indulge. The only one we managed to go to during the 3ish years we were together was Blue Ginger in Wellesley. He didn’t drink alcohol at all at the time, which helped, and the total was about $250, I think. Even though there are many numbers higher than this up above, I was horrified – we were very broke/in-debt grad students at the time and I didn’t even enjoy the meal, as I was a very picky eater at that time in my life. (I would probably like it now!) He was insistent that we should hit more of these types of places – “it’s no more expensive than a night at the theater, and just as entertaining, and I love it!” – but luckily we split before it became an issue, because it was so not my scene at the time and I just… couldn’t afford it. He had a magical way of only thinking about the cost of one entree anywhere we were going to eat and rationalizing it that way, even though it was likely to be an appetizer or two, two entrees, dessert, maybe drinks, and of course he never thought about tax/tip. It was not his best feature. Maybe if he’d been more realistic about costs instead of dismissing my numbers, we might’ve been able to accurately budget and I could’ve enjoyed it.

ThatJenn (#916)

@ThatJenn Oh wow. I just looked at their menu and what’s amusing is that it’s not THAT out of line price-wise with places I would go now as sort of a “regular splurge” (once every few months, and for me and my dude these days, probably a total under $70). That just means that we/he ordered everything under the sun, which doesn’t surprise me in retrospect.

readyornot (#816)

I saw the tweet asking for these stories, and I’m a little glad I didn’t respond because my most expensive meal is, um, more expensive than these. My husband and I have done like one serious splurge a year, and we’ve been to a few posh places with his parents. My favorite, though it wasn’t the most expensive, was definitely the French Laundry. Just an exquisite experience.

j a y (#3,935)

@readyornot On the plus side, a lot of people seemed to enjoy their expensive meal experiences!

I have a weakness for expensive meals, but since I’m usually just paying for one, it’s not so bad. Altogether, the most expensive meal was when I treated my mom to La Pergola, in Italy. It wasn’t groundbreaking but it was fun and she really enjoyed it so… $600-ish? And we don’t drink!

cryptolect (#1,135)

As a vegetarian, I’d like to ask New Yorkers what they consider to be the fancy, but worth-it, vegetarian restaurant options in NYC?

Dirt Candy – Probably the most expensive meal I’ve had; I thought it was delicious but not really “worth” the price tag, plus I was still hungry afterwards.
Candle 79 – So so disappointed in this place. I couldn’t believe this was supposed to be a great vegetarian restaurant.
Pure Food & Wine – This, this was the stuff! Tasting menu, holy cow, everything was so good. My sister took me here so I don’t know exactly how out of my price range it actually is.

@cryptolect The still feeling hungry afterwards thing is the worst. I’d recommend Hangawi, which is an eating experience in addition to being really good food. (http://www.hangawirestaurant.com/) Pure Food and Wine is solid, and it’s not *too* expensive. It’s basically in line with other Nice Manhattan Restaurants (TM).

jenny0 (#6,933)

Dying at the Peter Luger story. I don’t even like beef (pork? Delicious! Seafood? Sign me up! Chicken? Yum!) but my sentiments were exactly the same. The only issue I have is how the author skirted over the issue of the PL sundae which is the best damned sundae or ice cream I’ve ever ever ever had in my whole life. I will think of it on my deathbed.

Allison (#4,509)

I eat at pretty cheap places, even when I took two of my friends out to dinner at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (which I love and feels fancy) for Christmas it was only around $125. Granted the second pitcher of sangria was comped since I ended up wearing half of it.

Goodie (#5,447)

I didn’t technically spend the money as it was a date and he paid but the final bill was about $860 though I think that was mainly made up by fancy drinks more than food.

Rezpect (#621)

For me it was Le Bernardin, paying about $130 with tip (my share) and I’d say the service alone — plus a brief tableside chat with Chef Eric Ripert — was worth it.

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