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mikhail prokhorov theater

Mikhail Prokhorov Theater: The Deal With the Expensive Lunch

We're not sure everyone understands the ramifications — the awesome ramifications — of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov potentially buying the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. He has agreed to the deal, but needs the approval of 23 of the 30 NBA owners. We desperately want him to get it. Why? Because Mikhail Prokhorov is unlike any other billionaire, any sports owner, any human. You really need to know him better. Thus, our weekly series here on The Sports Section: Mikhail Prokhorov Theater, in which we retell grand old anecdotes about — and we want to be careful not to overstate this — the world's most amazing man. This week: the Truffle Carpaccio.

A few weeks ago, there was a tiny kerfuffle about Comrade Prokhorov's massive spending at Upper East Side haunt Nello at a lunch with pals after meeting with NBA officials. This is the type of story people love, the "dashing," tall billionaire going hog wild with his cash in the most frivolous way possible. But the bill wasn't so high because of food, despite the truffle tagliolini, truffle carpaccio, and veal chops with mushrooms. (Oh, and don't forget the $72 for six large waters. What kind of racket are they running over at Nello? We enjoyed the Post's Steve Cuozzo destroying the restaurant: "The Madison Avenue joint's overpriced food and underfed blondes are perfect for a bimbo-craving, globetrotting gazillionaire from the world's most gastronomically challenged country.")

No, the expensive stuff was the booze.

The lunch was topped off with a $5,000 bottle of vintage 1998 Chateau Petrus and two bottles of 2002 Montrachet Latour for $3,600.

That's not just a lot for lunch ... that's a lot for a Russian!

Prokhorov's parties in the French Alps, the ones that got him in so much trouble back in 2007, were famed for their extravagant amounts of alcohol. In fact, Prokhorov was once called the French Santa Claus of Booze.


"He is our Gatsby magnifique — to us he was like Santa Claus," said Julian the jeweller, with tears welling in her eyes. "We are all terribly, terribly sorry about his departure. In five minutes it has been ruined — the Russians have gone and we are worried they may never come back again."

Prokhorov came back. He always does. When he takes over the Nets, you can fully expect a vodka bar, maybe even a vodka fountain. He is Santa Claus.

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Photo: Getty Images