Do you consider yourself a lover of food? Are you a purveyor of fine cuisine? Who can honestly say that they are not? The aromas, the flavors, and the experiences of dining can be quite memorable. Food can bring people together and can sustain relationships through lunch meetings, weekly brunches, or dinner dates. Appreciating delicious and healthy foods is in and of itself a unifying experience. Food is something that is universal, in that it has existed in some form or other forever and involves all people. It is a central aspect of being a human being. Entire cultures are formed based on the types of food served and eaten by groups of people.
Food culture has become a love affair of many in recent years. Especially among the rich and famous, the enjoyment of expensive meals at high quality restaurants has become a hobby of sorts. This pastime attracts celebrities, as well as others, as they hear about the next big thing in dining. More and more attention is given to terms we never paid attention to in the past, such as "organic," "locally sourced," and "fusion." Americans as a nation are developing our own culture of food and are determining the direction in which restaurants will go in, developing new menus and food items in an effort to keep up with our constantly changing taste buds. Innovation on the part of chefs has led to a new evolution in the world of food.
The following restaurants all have some things in common. Namely, organic and fresh farm to table ingredients are becoming quite popular among the masses, especially in the more upscale of dining atmospheres. The visual presentation of food is also a unifying similarity. In general, we pay more attention to how our food looks now than ever before. We employ all of our senses when we partake of a meal, not just the sense of taste. We expect that our meals will be visually breathtaking, that they will smell divine. We want to feel tender and fresh meat, or crisp and juicy produce as we take that first electrifying bite of a meal. At times, we will even hear the sizzle of our food, still cooking, as it is brought to the table. Arguably the most important sense in eating is the sense of taste. We want to taste food that is luscious, delectable, and mouth watering. You are invited to take a journey into the fanciest of cuisines as you read about deliciously expensive meals eaten by celebrities found around the country and around the globe.
From the east coast to the west, from a large scale hotel in the Hill Country area of Texas to a small sushi shop near a train station in Japan, some of the best and most loved cuisines can also be the most expensive. Each of the following eateries has been awarded one of the best in the world. Whether the award is five stars from Forbes or three stars from the Michelin Guide, you will know that you are experiencing the best fare there is to offer.
7 The Inn at Dos Brisas, Houston, Texas: $250
The Inn at Dos Brisas, in Texas Hill Country, uses the freshest ingredients. Organic herbs and vegetables are picked fresh from a 24 acre farm. Fresh meat and seafood also arrives daily. This farm to table method combines with French/Asian fusion cooking to make dinner remarkable. Dos Brisas boasts 7,000 bottles of wine, and serves German beers and unique, handcrafted cocktails. The Chef's Six-Course Menu includes oysters, ruby crescent potatoes and walnuts, fresh fish with truffles, salad and foie gras, beef ribeye and marrow, milk chocolate, banana, and black truffle, and five courses of wine pairings.
6 The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills, California: $265
The Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills holds many options for diners. In particular the outdoor dining area is exquisitely beautiful. If you are looking for a late night option, or would prefer to dine al fresco, this just may be the perfect spot for you! Start your meal with a one ounce appetizer of special reserve Siberian caviar. Follow it up with a filet mignon, Yukon potatoes, parsnips, port glazed cipollini, and peppercorn sauce as the entree and side dishes. A sure bet for dessert is the black winter truffle to round out your experience at The Polo Lounge.
5 Per Se, New York City, New York: $310
Located in central Manhattan, Per Se is the urban counterpart of The French Laundry. Each day two nine course tasting menus are created with the goal of creating surprise for the guests. Each course features a small dish with distinctive flavors. The first course of the vegetable tasting menu one particular day was lemon sorbet, followed by a salad of slow roasted beets, chana dal vada (garbanzo beans and herbs), mint crepe, asparagus armandine, potato anolini, ricotta tart, and Willoughby (asparagus and walnuts). The courses are rounded out with an assortment of desserts including fruit, ice cream, and chocolate.
4 Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo, Japan: $400
Katy Perry has eaten here as well as Wolverine star Hugh Jackman. Located near a train station in Tokyo, Japan, it is a gem among sushi restaurants. One of the few sushi joints to be awarded three Michelin stars, and known as the world's best, Sukiyabashi Jiro serves its share of celebrities. The chef’s recommended special course will provide you with a meal to remember. There is a preciseness in the attention to detail, the way each piece is hand prepared and immediately served in a certain order that lets you know presentation and taste are equally important. Beer and Japanese sake are served at an additional cost.
3 The French Laundry, Yountville, California: $470
In a lush garden setting, The French Laundry shares the same philosophy as Per Se, its urban counterpart. The chef's tasting menu begins at $295, but some courses have additional charges. The first course is oysters and pearls, followed by Royal Osetra caviar (an additional $75). Next is the Hawaiian hearts of peach palm, then polenta with black winter truffle (a surcharge of $100). The menu continues with sole and vegetables, Maine lobster, asparagus and peas, beef brisket pierogi, cave-aged comte, and finally fruit, ice cream, and chocolate for dessert.
2 The French Room at the Adolphus, Dallas, Texas: $584
The French Room at the Adolphus employs internationally trained chefs to create wonderfully sophisticated meals. The menu changes with each season, so the meals never become routine. Three courses at The French Room start at a relatively inexpensive price of $80, but the cost of add-ons is where the real money is spent. Begin your meal with a ninety gram tasting of three types of caviar served alongside an appetizer of butter poached Maine lobster. A selection of artisanal cheeses is a splendidly delicious entree, followed by the famous French Room soufflé for an outstandingly decadent dessert.
1 The Old Farmstead Steakhouse, New York City, New York: $947.50
The Old Farmstead Steakhouse can be found within the meatpacking district, with additional locations in New Jersey. The main star here is the Kobe beef. This beef stands out due to the extraordinary marbling of the meat. Wagyu cattle are fed grains and clean water. The meat is inspected for marbling and shipped from Japan. Start your meal with an appetizer of crab meat cocktail, followed by Kobe beef, with sides of cold water lobster tail and asparagus hollandaise. A 2009 cabernet sauvignon pairs well with the beef. Try The Old Homestead Steakhouse World Famous Cheesecake to round out your meal.