In January, the CEO of Vice Media, Shane Smith, reportedly threw down $300,000 on a dinner. And no, it wasn't on a $30-a-head feast for the entire population of the central Pacific island of Nauru. It was just a casual dinner for him and about 30 friends in Las Vegas.
Now you may be wondering, "How the heck does one person consume $10,000 worth of food and drinks in one sitting?" Well, we crunched some numbers and found what you could get for 300,000 big ones at the Bellagio's Prime Steakhouse, where the dinner took place:
-12,500 shrimp cocktails
-20,000 butternut squash soups
-16,666 warm asparagus salads (with truffle vinaigrette)
-3,529 bone-in rib eyes (28oz)
-4,838 lobster tails
But let's be honest, there's no way Smith and his guests actually ate that much food. Realistically, the bulk of the bill probably came from booze--which apparently was flowing very (did I say very?) freely.
While Prime does not provide its wine list online, one TripAdvisor reviewer says the restaurant has "great steak but [a] scary wine list"--apparently it's nearly impossible to find a bottle under $100. A person who attended the dinner told The New York Times that the group sipped from bottles costing more than $20,000 apiece. But even if they ordered ten $20,000 bottles, you might still be scratching your heads about where the remaining $100,000 went. Fret not; we've dug even deeper into this conundrum.
Several menu items don't have prices listed, including a chilled shellfish platter, Siberian sturgeon caviar, and A5 Japanese Wagyu beef (for which the restaurant charges by the ounce). We called Prime to figure out the market price for these high-end selections, but no one was available to comment. Nonetheless, we can still imagine what they would be.
Not that we think the steakhouse gets its Wagyu from Costco, but the wholesale chain's price for "authentic Japanese A5 grade wagyu beef" is currently $136.37 per pound. So that's almost $140 for a 16-ounce steak. Let's add a 30 percent markup to make it about $180 per steak, and let's say 30 guests hadn't eaten in years and decided to chow down on the Japanese delicacy. That's still only $5,400 worth of food.
But of course, let's not forget the appetizers and sides. You don't just roll up to a dinner of this magnitude and not order caviar. At Costco you can get a 2-ounce (that's four tablespoons) jar of Bulgarian sturgeon caviar for an unbeatable price of $83.33. The folks over at Prime probably get a good deal and then maybe they sell it to their diners for $90 for 2 ounces. (We can only hope it comes with a 14-carat gold spoon that you can pass down to your grandchildren.) If Smith and his buddies said "YOLO, let's order 220 ounces of fish-eggs," that would set Smith back about another ten grand.
While we suspect sturgeon caviar of any provenance is tasty, it's probably not the most filling appetizer. So let's assume the group threw in 15 orders of seared foie gras, 15 more of a steak tartare, and 10 steamed shrimp salads, for a grand total of $1,114.
At this point though, the wine river might be running dry, so one would think a round of drinks is in order. While the cocktail menu for the steakhouse also is not available online, we found that another nightspot at the Bellagio sells $185 shots of Gran Patrón Burdeos Añejo. Maybe the waiters, sommeliers, and restaurant managers all got a round, and the bill grew $9,250 for 50 shots.
Back to the food, since everyone is postulating what side dish to they want to accompany their $180 steak. Half of the people go with the $18 truffle mashed potatoes and the other half with the $18 potato gnocchi (drizzled with mushrooms and truffle gouda fondue, naturally). That puts us at $540 for the sides. Until someone probably realized that his or her meal was going to be extremely starchy and ordered three rounds of every vegetable dish on the menu, for a total of $249 in veggies.
OK, time for more drinks. A glass of wine and one shot of tequila--no matter the cost--doesn't really do all that much to add to the fun. So we would be shocked if someone didn't cry out in outrage, "We want more booze!" And they probably got it because Smith was having a great time celebrating his Blackjack winnings. Cue another 50 shots of Añejo. But just drinking tequila can get boring, so why not have each guest get a cocktail as well, for say $30 a pop? After all, that would only be 900 bucks.
Once all the caviar and Wagyu has been consumed, we can only hope the group would spend at least twice as much on desserts as they did on veggies. And of course after all this food, it would almost be offensive to your digestive system to part without the help of an expensive digestif--think two bottles of the $5,000 Courvoisier L'Esprit cognac. We aren't even sure the restaurant sells it, but we trust they have something just as good.
With all the appetizers, entrees, side dishes, drinks and desserts we mentioned, the total of the bill would still be at $247,203. Of course then there is the 8.1 percent sales tax to consider, and we're thinking Smith was generous enough to leave a 20 percent tip, which would put us at right around $300,000.
Yup, all that for a dinner of "about 30" guests. If you have that much to spend but don't feel like Prime Steakhouse is for you though, you could, with some effort, endear yourself to a far larger number of people than Smith chose to. Our suggestion: Walk around the streets until you've finished handing out 30,000 meals from Chipotle.