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Moderator Note (Andy): this was originally posted on 4/24/12
With full time recruiting well out of the way, I thought I would address a more pressing issue at hand- What are you going to blow all that front-office cash on? We all hear about the usual models bottles thing, but flashing coin in the club is so 2007.

I, for one, truly enjoy a great meal. In all honestly, I would much rather spend a few hundred on a dinner date than fist pumping with the boys at the club. So, how does a 20-something-year-old-analyst get into NYC’s top restaurants? Apparently, the answer is to bribe your way in.

Take it from Bruce Feller of gourmet.com, a man brave enough to find out if greasing the palms of New York City’s maître d’s would really get him into top restaurants like Daniel, Union Square Café, Nobu, and Balthazar. The short answer is, yes, bribing works with astonishing ease. Through his little social experiment, he came up with 10 tips that will surely get you and your date past the wait and seated in less than 20 minutes.

gourmet.com wrote:
-
1. Go. You’d be surprised what you can get just by showing up
2. Dress appropriately. Your chances improve considerably if you look like you belong.
3. Don’t feel ashamed. They don’t. You shouldn’t.
4. Have the money ready. Pre-folded, in thirds or fourths, with the amount showing.
5. Identify the person who’s in charge, even if you have to ask.
6. Isolate the person in charge. Ask to speak with that person, if necessary.
7. Look the person in the eye when you slip him the money. Don’t look at the money.
8. Be specific about what you want. “Do you have a better table?” “Can you speed up my wait?” A good fallback: “This is a really important night for me.”
9. Tip the maître d’ on the way out. if he turned down the money but still gave you a table.
10. Ask for the maître d’s card as you’re leaving. .You are now one of his best customers.

Well, I guess you could also make a reservation a month in advance, but that’s certainly no fun. So, grab a gold digging shiksa and try it out, who knows who you might be seated next to.

Have any monkeys here tried to bribe your way into a club or restaurant?

Comments (62)

  • In reply to Relinquis
    professionalmonkey's picture

    Relinquis wrote:
    Just make a res... It's a restaurant, don't make a big deal out of it.

    You can't "just make a res" at an exclusive restaurant.

    About 4 years ago, my dad and I went to a restaurant in DC called Komi. My dad's college roommate was the president of a large private university and invited us to dinner. We didn't think anything of it, but I guess the only way into the restaurant is by making a reservation exactly one month in advance (but they only take like 5 reservations per night, around 1000 calls per day, you figure it out), or by being a boss like this dude. I remember the guy ended up spending around $1000 on four of us. Best meal of my life.

  • In reply to professionalmonkey
    swagon's picture

    professionalmonkey wrote:
    Relinquis wrote:
    Just make a res... It's a restaurant, don't make a big deal out of it.

    You can't "just make a res" at an exclusive restaurant.

    About 4 years ago, my dad and I went to a restaurant in DC called Komi. My dad's college roommate was the president of a large private university and invited us to dinner. We didn't think anything of it, but I guess the only way into the restaurant is by making a reservation exactly one month in advance (but they only take like 5 reservations per night, around 1000 calls per day, you figure it out), or by being a boss like this dude. I remember the guy ended up spending around $1000 on four of us. Best meal of my life.


    whatd chu order?

    fish filet?

  • Hamilton's picture

    So that's how he got a table at Dorsia.

    "Have you ever tried to use a chain with 3 weak links? I have, and now I no longer own an arctic wolf."
    -Dwight Schrute

  • mb666's picture

    There are so many great restaurants in the city so why would someone go all out to eat at one of these "super exclusive" ones? Ego boost?

    It's just food. You can get the best quality food and service without slipping 50s and wasting effort on all those tips. With regards to restaurants, the buyer should always remain in control. Just my 2 cents.

  • In reply to professionalmonkey
    Relinquis's picture

    professionalmonkey wrote:
    Relinquis wrote:
    Just make a res... It's a restaurant, don't make a big deal out of it.

    You can't "just make a res" at an exclusive restaurant.

    About 4 years ago, my dad and I went to a restaurant in DC called Komi. My dad's college roommate was the president of a large private university and invited us to dinner. We didn't think anything of it, but I guess the only way into the restaurant is by making a reservation exactly one month in advance (but they only take like 5 reservations per night, around 1000 calls per day, you figure it out), or by being a boss like this dude. I remember the guy ended up spending around $1000 on four of us. Best meal of my life.


    You can just call Nobu and make a res... it's not that big a deal... Try it... Hell, there are two Nobu's in the West End alone... There are not that many restaurants where you can't just call and make a booking. I usually have one or two bookings at a nice restaurant every weekend. I'll take whomever I'm with at the time. Not a big deal if you call a few days in advance.

    Yes, there are some top rated michelin star restaurants where you have to book months in advance, but they tend not to be where pretty party girls hang out, or care to go. Mostly old guys, business folk and such who book far in advance.

    Want a real pro tip?

    Reserve a table for 2 or 4 at a very exclusive restaurant weeks / months in advance (not Nobu, etc.. but properly exclusive)... Then, when the time comes just go with whomever you are with at the time... a girlfriend, your food connoisseur buddies, or a client... Easy.

  • Angus Macgyver's picture

    This looks like a good time for me to hop in and ask: Any good restaurant recommendations, along with how far in advance I'd have to make a reservation? Preferably looking for good restaurants that I wouldn't have to make reservations at, if that's even possible.

    Gonna be in NYC in July, and I'm looking for places to satisfy my lust for good food. Making reservations more than a few days or couple of weeks in advance might be problematic, with a stay of only a month.

  • aempirei's picture

    Is it bad that I don't give a shit about spending $400-500 at these exclusive restaurants everyone is jerking off over in here? I'de rather spend that money skiing or skydiving but I guess that's just me.

    My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

  • Relinquis's picture

    I have a couple of foodie friends who plan their travel around what restaurants they want to check out.... Their last trip was to France so they booked several 3 michelin star restaurants many months in advance. Bribing is never an option. This same couple can also enjoy a nice burger after a night out with friends. It's not a big deal.

    I'm not so serious about this stuff (scheduling trips around food), but it's nice to try good food with someone who actually knows what it is all about. We were once at a nice restaurant (one of the ones mentioned in this thread) with some business partners and one of them had brought his daughter along. She was at culinary school and was far more appreciative than my colleagues who would have drenched their food in condiments if it was at a different place.

    It was great to talk food and wine to with her... Showed us how little we actually knew.

  • anaismalcolm's picture

    I still am skeptical whether a meal at Per Se would be as "experiential" as watching the sun set over Jersey City eating Shake Shack, especially given that the latter is 1/40th of the former's cost. Maybe I'm just a Southern bumpkin but I just don't understand some people's fervent need here to eat at super pricey places.

  • In reply to Johnny Ringo
    bfin's picture

    Johnny Ringo wrote:
    maître d’ at Lavo is a close friend. DM me if you'd like a great table.

    Will this be before or after you beg for a job?

    The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

    WSO is not your personal search function.

  • In reply to mb666
    UFOinsider's picture

    mb666 wrote:
    There are so many great restaurants in the city so why would someone go all out to eat at one of these "super exclusive" ones? Ego boost?

    It's just food. You can get the best quality food and service without slipping 50s and wasting effort on all those tips. With regards to restaurants, the buyer should always remain in control. Just my 2 cents.


    ^this. If you're trying to show off, just bring people to a place where you know the owner/manager. Making a phone call and skipping the line puts a hilarious look on everyone's face, you can't buy that.

    Or do I just not "get it".

    Get busy living

  • In reply to Angus Macgyver
    cplpayne's picture

    Angus Macgyver wrote:
    This looks like a good time for me to hop in and ask: Any good restaurant recommendations, along with how far in advance I'd have to make a reservation? Preferably looking for good restaurants that I wouldn't have to make reservations at, if that's even possible.

    Gonna be in NYC in July, and I'm looking for places to satisfy my lust for good food. Making reservations more than a few days or couple of weeks in advance might be problematic, with a stay of only a month.

    Marea
    Ai Fiori
    Osteria Morini
    Babbo
    Esca
    Daniel
    Le Bernardin
    Gramercy Tavern
    Maialino

    "One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger

  • Disincentivy's picture

    I just pretend I am an Arab princess spending one night in the city. I always get a table for me and my friends.

    If I don't feel particularly deceptive; I just call and sweet talk my way into a nearer reservation. There is always someone who is either having a good day of which you can take advantage of, or a bad day of which you can make it better and still take advantage of.

    I may not be on the Jedi Council, but I sure am great with the Force.

    See my WSO blog posts

  • MrDouche's picture

    ProfessionalMonkey: Appreciate the enthusiasm on one of my favorites. Komi is very good, but it's not that hard to get into and it doesn't matter if you are the president of a university or the owner of some no name company like myself. Try getting into Johnny Mathis' new place or Minibar or Alinea or French Laundry or Per Se. Far more difficult, but still surprisingly easy if you own a phone. And if you want to know a little secret: A centurion concierge could not secure a spot at one of the restaurants above, but what did work was actually picking up the phone the next day.

    Having said that, I was shut out of El Bulli and now they're closed.

    Don't bribe, especially if you're an entry level associate or analyst struggling to get by; but you don't need to stick to Lean Cuisine either.

    I rich, smarts, and totally in debt.

  • drexelalum11's picture

    Unless a restaurant is in the top 10 globally, you should be able to just call up and get reservations. Fuck, Per Se is technically in that list, and I've gotten same day reservations there just by calling. Even Noma and the Fat Duck just take standard reservations, El Bulli used to (granted, you have to call fairly far in advance).

    Honestly though, if you want to impress your date, knowing a decently priced place with amazing food and a brilliant wine list looks way better than being the dickhead who takes her to Nobu.

  • Nobama88's picture

    Shit, maybe I hang with the wrong crowd of girls... and this could very well be possible, but I have never met a girl who feels comfortable going to a place listed above on a first date. I would step out and say most girls would feel very uncomfortable being taken to such a 'posh' place - I am talking dating material type girls, not the gold digging woman.

    If you are a foodie and really enjoy a nice dinner from one of the above then great, but for you guys who are looking to impress a girl by dropping $800 on a dinner, dont. If she was smart, she would actually think you were fucking retarded for doing so.

  • sayandarula's picture

    what is a "maître d’"?? how do you pronounce that?

    Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

  • In reply to Nobama88
    Cardinal's picture

    Nobama88 wrote:
    Shit, maybe I hang with the wrong crowd of girls... and this could very well be possible, but I have never met a girl who feels comfortable going to a place listed above on a first date. I would step out and say most girls would feel very uncomfortable being taken to such a 'posh' place - I am talking dating material type girls, not the gold digging woman.

    If you are a foodie and really enjoy a nice dinner from one of the above then great, but for you guys who are looking to impress a girl by dropping $800 on a dinner, dont. If she was smart, she would actually think you were fucking retarded for doing so.

    First date is applebees 2 for 20, sometimes i let her pick the free app

  • In reply to Cardinal
    Nobama88's picture

    Cardinal wrote:
    Nobama88 wrote:
    Shit, maybe I hang with the wrong crowd of girls... and this could very well be possible, but I have never met a girl who feels comfortable going to a place listed above on a first date. I would step out and say most girls would feel very uncomfortable being taken to such a 'posh' place - I am talking dating material type girls, not the gold digging woman.

    If you are a foodie and really enjoy a nice dinner from one of the above then great, but for you guys who are looking to impress a girl by dropping $800 on a dinner, dont. If she was smart, she would actually think you were fucking retarded for doing so.

    First date is applebees 2 for 20, sometimes i let her pick the free app

    Mmmmmmhhhhhmmmmm, you know how to treat a lady!

  • In reply to swagon
    Cane0180's picture

    swagon wrote:
    professionalmonkey wrote:
    Relinquis wrote:
    Just make a res... It's a restaurant, don't make a big deal out of it.

    You can't "just make a res" at an exclusive restaurant.

    About 4 years ago, my dad and I went to a restaurant in DC called Komi. My dad's college roommate was the president of a large private university and invited us to dinner. We didn't think anything of it, but I guess the only way into the restaurant is by making a reservation exactly one month in advance (but they only take like 5 reservations per night, around 1000 calls per day, you figure it out), or by being a boss like this dude. I remember the guy ended up spending around $1000 on four of us. Best meal of my life.


    whatd chu order?

    fish filet?

    10/10

  • In reply to bfin
    Johnny Ringo's picture

    bfin wrote:
    Johnny Ringo wrote:
    maître d’ at Lavo is a close friend. DM me if you'd like a great table.

    Will this be before or after you beg for a job?

    Beg for a Job? No thank I don't need one. Also based on your picture, shouldn't you be talking about All you can eat buffet at the Sizzler, Sir Charles?

    Eventus stultorum magister.

  • In reply to Johnny Ringo
    TonyPerkis's picture

    Johnny Ringo wrote:
    bfin wrote:
    Johnny Ringo wrote:
    maître d’ at Lavo is a close friend. DM me if you'd like a great table.

    Will this be before or after you beg for a job?

    Beg for a Job? No thank I don't need one. Also based on your picture, shouldn't you be talking about All you can eat buffet at the Sizzler, Sir Charles?

    racialism is not allowed

    I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

  • In reply to A2Allegiance
    aempirei's picture

    A2Allegiance wrote:
    For those who have done this, how much cash is usually necessary?

    From my experience, a roll of Susan B. Anthony's usually does the trick.

    My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

  • In reply to aempirei
    TonyPerkis's picture

    aempirei wrote:
    A2Allegiance wrote:
    For those who have done this, how much cash is usually necessary?

    From my experience, a roll of Susan B. Anthony's usually does the trick.

    Ha!

    not sacageaweaasasas?

    I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

  • In reply to TonyPerkis
    Johnny Ringo's picture

    TonyPerkis][quote=aempirei wrote:
    A2Allegiance wrote:
    For those who have done this, how much cash is usually necessary?

    From my experience, a roll of Susan B. Anthony's usually does the trick.

    Ha!

    a roll of Susan B. Anthony's usually does the trick. sounds like an innuendo for a Chode

    Eventus stultorum magister.

  • FlakieBear's picture

    You are putting too much effort into shit. Once you go home, it goes down.
    Same color as a chipotle bowl. Just more expensive

    Power and Money do not change men; they only unmask them

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