12 Decadent Menu Items for Any Budget
By Garin Pirnia
The definition of “decadent” indicates someone who loves pleasure or is “luxuriously self-indulgent.” Americans relish in doing everything big (after all, McDonald’s invented the word “super-size”). While some restaurants accommodate high-caloric meals, others exclusively gratify the 1 percent by tricking them into believing they need a gold-flecked sundae. Here are 12 of the most indulgent restaurant items in the U.S. and Canada.
1. THE ZILLION DOLLAR LOBSTER FRITTATA // NORMA’S // NEW YORK CITY
It makes sense to find some of the most expensive menu items in the world in New York City. Located inside Le Parker Meridien Hotel (and also at The Parker Palm Springs), Norma’s offers the world’s most pricey egg dish. The Zillion Dollar is made with six eggs, lobster, and finished with Sevruga caviar, culled from the Caspian Sea’s Sevruga sturgeons. You get a choice of either a regular one-ounce of caviar ($100 total) or “super-sized” 10-ounces ($1000 total). Or, you could just stick with their $27 blueberry pancakes.
2. KOBE STEAK // THE OLD HOMESTEAD STEAKHOUSE // NEW YORK CITY
Kobe beef is a world-renowned delicacy, similar to the truffle, and known to be an expensive luxury at steakhouses. The NYC-, Atlantic City-, and Vegas-based Old Homestead has a $350 12-ounce Kobe steak on its lunch and dinner menus, or you can get the smaller and less decadent 6-ounce for $175. Real Kobe beef—not Wagyu—is usually priced around $200, so you know you’re getting the good stuff here.
3. FLEURBURGER 5000 // FLEUR // LAS VEGAS
Vegas, a city equated with high-roller status and extravagance, is becoming on-par with New York City when it comes to culinary options. Chef Hubert Keller’s Fleur restaurant, located inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, proffers its guests a standard FleurBurger (Wagyu beef, brioche, caramelized onions, grilled abalone mushroom, and a side of fries) and the more advanced version, FleurBurger 5000, which, you guessed it, costs $5000. Similar to the original FleurBurger, but maxed out to contain foie gras and truffles, and it is served with a bottle of 1995 Chateau Pétrus to wash all of that richness down.
4. DRAGON DOG // DOUGIEDOG // VANCOUVER, CANADA
Stephen Drygas via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Dougie Luv's aptly named DougieDog in Vancouver is the city's first hot dog restaurant, and it specializes in reasonably-priced all-natural gourmet dogs with old favorites like the Chicago dog and the Bacon Chili Cheese Dog. They even have one named after hot dog aficionado Dave Grohl, with coleslaw, hot peppers, and a whiskey infusion. One exception is their $100 Dragon Dog, a Kobe beef dog that is infused with century-old Louis XIII cognac and then topped with lobster, truffle oil, and spices. Considering a bottle of the cognac can cost $3500, diners are getting a bargain.
5. GOLDEN OPULENCE SUNDAE AND FRRROZEN HAUTE CHOCOLATE // SERENDIPITY 3 // NEW YORK CITY
Known for their rich goblets of "frrrozen" hot chocolates championed by Oprah (and for the John Cusack rom-com Serendipity), the whimsical Manhattan restaurant landed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007 with their Golden Opulence Sundae, priced at a cool $1000. After giving the restaurant 48 hours notice, your dish starts off with a crystal goblet—the same used by the Vatican, and yours to keep—with three scoops of Madagascar vanilla ice cream topped with Amedei Porcelana chocolate syrup, Chuao chocolate, candied fruits flown in from Paris, and a 23k edible gold leaf. The dessert is beautifully handcrafted, but if that sundae just isn’t cutting it and you really desire a super fancy version of their frozen hot chocolate, order the $25,000 Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, made with their own frozen chocolate mix, then combined with several rare cocoas from around the world—and of course it's dripping in gold.
6. WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE ICE CREAM SUNDAE // THREE TWINS // PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA
The California-based ice creamery, Three Twins, sees Serendipity’s sundae and ups the ante to the tune of $3333.33. No gold comes on the banana split, but the price point comes from its three syrups made from rare dessert wines: a 1960s vintage port, a Chateau D'Yquem, and a German Trockenbeerenauslese. You have to order the sundae through their website, and it says the ice cream “comes accompanied by a cellist performance. One-third of the purchase price will be donated to a local land trust.” The sundae will be delivered to their North Bay, San Rafael, Napa, or Larkspur ice cream shop. The best part: You get to keep the 1850s ice cream spoon used to scoop up all of that indulgence.
7. MASA TORO WITH CAVIAR // BAR MASA // NEW YORK CITY
Fatty tuna belly, a.k.a. toro, is a delicacy at sushi restaurants. Bar Masa’s entire menu is not for the penurious, but their toro with caviar roll clocks in at $240, making it the most expensive thing on the menu (the rest averages around $28 per piece of fish). Yet those prices are nothing compared to eating at Chef Masa Takayama’s flagship restaurant, Masa, which costs at least $595 per person for an omakase menu.
8. CORONARY BYPASS BURGERS // THE VORTEX BAR AND GRILL // ATLANTA
Joe Benjamin via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
At least the Atlanta burger joint is honest about what will probably happen if you eat too many of these big boys. The trademarked Coronary Bypass burgers come in four different levels. The basic Coronary Bypass is made with two bacon grilled cheese sandwiches used as buns (that’s already four slices of bread), and also have 8 ounces of sirloin, 10 slices of processed American cheese, a fried egg, nine strips of bacon, and 4 ounces of mayo. The estimated caloric intake, including a side of cheesy fries: 3707.
From here, things get even unhealthier. There are Double and Triple Coronary Bypasses, but it’s the Quadruple where things get the ugliest: four patty melts, 28 slices of cheese, four eggs, 27 strips of bacon, 12 ounces of mayo, and, because of its 9000 calories, you might leave the eatery in a body bag. Did we mention this burger is also available as an eating challenge?
9. CHOOMONGOUS // GLOBE LIFE PARK // ARLINGTON, TEXAS
Globe Life Park in Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers, and to a few meat-heavy sandwiches. The Choomongous—named after right-fielder Shin-Soo Choo—was all the rage when it debuted at the ballpark a couple of years ago. The $27 sandwich is 24 inches of layered Asian teriyaki‐marinated beef, spicy coleslaw, and creamy Sriracha sauce, and comes inside a handy carrying case. But the stadium has a thing for $27 concession food [PDF], with other pricey options including The Boomstick (an all-beef hot dog topped with chili, Rico’s nacho cheese, grilled onions, and jalapeño peppers on a challah hoagie roll), The Wicked Pig (pulled pork, Danish bacon, andouille sausage, prosciutto, cut ham, barbecue sauce, coleslaw, pork rinds), The Beltre Buster (ground beef, bacon, grilled onions, and Monterey Jack cheese on a pretzel bun), and The TANACO “Nacho Average Taco” (a 24-inch taco shell filled with a foot each of ground beef and chicken, Rico’s nacho cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeños, and sour cream).
10. BARCLAY PRIME CHEESESTEAK // BARCLAY PRIME // PHILADELPHIA
Philadelphia claims cheesesteaks as their food namesake, but a $120 cheesesteak? At Barclay Prime, the Rittenhouse Square steakhouse serves up the Barclay Prime Cheesesteak, made with Japanese Wagyu ribeye, foie gras, and truffled cheese whiz carefully placed on a sesame roll. The kicker here is the sandwich is served with a half-bottle of Dom Pérignon Champagne. And while you’re at it, throw in a side of tater tots for a mere $11.
11. KHACHAPURI // COMPASS ROSE // WASHINGTON D.C.
Sergey and Jenia via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
A Georgian dish (from the country, not the state), khachapuri takes cheese-filled bread and adds pools of egg and butter to the pastry. In Georgia, khachapuri is like their version of pizza, and they typically use a sour cheese called sulguni. A few restaurants in the D.C. area have the ethnic dish on the menu, including Compass Rose, who takes the organic egg and local butter route. Though not expensive (at $14, it's a steal!) or completely unhealthy (protein!), eating this on a daily basis will probably raise your cholesterol.
12. THE $1000 MINT JULEP // CHURCHILL DOWNS RACETRACK // LOUISVILLE
For the past 11 years, Kentucky’s Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery has participated in selling Mint Juleps for the Derby. This year, Houston bespoke clothing shop Hamilton Shirts designed the plaid-theme pewter cups, which are purchased online and then given to patrons at the Derby. Fifteen gold-plated, diamond-encrusted Master’s Cups could be purchased for $2500. The money raised from the sales of the cups went toward the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, and the buyers got seats at the Derby’s V.I.P. bar. The 142nd Run for the Roses featured a recipe concocted by New York mixologist Julie Renee Williams. Her take on the Julep included toasted pecan orgeat syrup and edible bronze flakes.