$20,000 Worth of Sushi? How Much Have You Spent Dining Out?


The Journal News has a story on New York State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada and 19 current or former executives of his Bronx not-for-profit health-care company, who were charged today with allegedly “siphoning” more than $14 million from the clinic where he serves as president and CEO.

My favorite paragraph:

(He) charged hundreds of thousands of dollars on Soundview’s credit cards for about 660 restaurant visits totaling more than $80,000. That includes $20,000 at Mamaroneck-area sushi restaurants for delivery to the Espada’s Mamaroneck home.

And I thought my restaurant bills were high.

At first, when a reporter asked me for phone numbers for the owners of these “Mamaroneck-area sushi restaurants,” including Red Plum and Toyo, I thought the $20 grand was for one meal! But no, it was over many, many meals.

Here’s a video of me and Linda Lombroso visiting several of those restaurants for a story last year:

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This leads me to a question: How much is the most you’ve ever spent out at a restaurant meal?

For me? About $300 per person. I’ve racked up that much at The French Laundry, Momofuku Ko, Per Se and Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee in Paris. Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns come in second at about $250 to $200 per person, depending on the visit. (And no, in case you’re wondering, The Journal News does not pay for those meals.  That’s out of my pocket.)

What about you?


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.


  1. Blue Hill at Stone Barn for me. The check for 4 of us came to about $250 per person incl tax/tip. That was AFTER asking for recommendation for a decent bottle of wine for under $75. They were unable to come up with a suggestion.

  2. I thought it was a well constructed meal, with many interesting tiny courses that looked like art on a plate. The tea service was interesting, and enjoyable, with fresh tea leaves cut off the stems…. The ambiance was beautiful. The service was attentive and special.

    I would NEVER do it again. No dinner is worth $250pp in my opinion.

  3. We spent about $1,400 on a meal for three (including tip) at Aureole in Las Vegas. About $1k was on wine. My then-boyfriend (now husband) won about $2,500 playing blackjack right before our dinner reservation, so we splurged and still had winnings to spare.

  4. David Hensley on

    At the time, I wondered if $1,000 per person for the two of us to eat at the chef’s table (in the kitchen) at Le Cirque in Manhattan was too much.In hindsight,I wish it was still available…..as some food experiences are priceless.I can honestly see spending $20,000.00 on sushi;especially if it is known that it was over the course of a year.

  5. Reminds me of when I worked for a (then it was still mostly music)cable programmer. We went to Sparks, everyone ordered 4lbs lobsters, bottles of Crystal, etc. so when it came to order dessert I ordered a $26.00 Grand Marnier. When the bill came the EVP, looks it over and asks outloud, so who ordered the $26.00 drink!

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