In downtown Manhattan’s Financial District, just a few blocks from Wall Street, resides one of America’s oldest restaurants. Started in 1837, Delmonico’s is a pioneer in American fine dining. Legendary chef Charles Ranhofer ran the kitchen back in the mid-1800s and is credited with creating classic dishes such as Baked Alaska, Lobster Newburg, and (arguably) Eggs Benedict.
All of those items can be found on Delmonico’s menu to this day. And with the help of present-day regulars requesting over-the-top dishes, the restaurant now has a collection of secret items that compose the so-called “Billionaire Menu."
“We have a lot of Wall Street guys down here, and they’re always looking to outdo one another," executive chef Billy Oliva says, referring to the foie gras and lobster-laden options available to those customers in the know.
It fits with Delmonico’s history that it would allow regulars to do a little experimenting with the menu. If Delmonico’s version of Eggs Benedict’s origin story is to be believed — there are conflicting accounts of how this brunch staple came to be — it was a couple of restaurant regulars, Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, who concocted the dish with Ranhofer back in the 19th century. Ranhofer liked it so much that he eventually put it on the menu.
On the secret menu Oliva now offers, off-book items include a US$100 (RM420) grilled cheese sandwich that features both scharfe maxx and l’etivaz cheeses (which cost US$27/RM113 and US$37/RM155 per pound, respectively), house-cured bacon that’s roasted for 18 hours and shaved black truffles. Then there’s the over-the-top US$150/RM628 flatbread that has wagyu beef, lobster, foie gras and truffles. It should also come with a defibrillator, but we’re journalists — not restaurant consultants — so don’t take our word for it.