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The Every-Occasion Guide to Splurge Dining

If you’re going to blow a lot of cash, do it wisely by following the advice of our critics (plus Jay McInerney).

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Illustration by Fernanda Cohen  

The Once-a-Year Blowout
Adam Platt
Masa. Demand the foie gras shabu-shabu, and addle yourself with the wonderful sake, presented in carafes floating in great bowls of crushed ice (10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-9800).

Gael Greene
Per Se (10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-9335). For once a month, Le Bernardin (155 W. 51st St.; 212-554-1515).

Jay McInerney
Ducasse. “Luxe, calme, et volupté” (155 W. 58th St.; 212-265-7300).

Hal Rubenstein
The tasting menu at Per Se with matching wines. Or if you really want to max out your cards, Le Cinq at the Hotel George V in Paris.

Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld
Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Motor on up to the onetime Rockefeller estate. If you want to know what’s fresh, the menu spells it out under the heading “Dug and Picked Today” (63 Bedford Rd., Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; 914-366-9600).

The Hot Date
Adam Platt
Le Bernardin. We’re a little stodgy, it’s true, but my wife considers the waiters to be the sexiest in town.

Gael Greene
Masa’s omakase for two. Equally sensual for sushi-phobes: Le Bernardin.

Jay McInerney
Babbo. Unless, of course, your date is anorexic. If you want privacy, sit upstairs, where you won’t see anybody you know (110 Waverly Pl.; 212-777-0303).

Hal Rubenstein
With the uptown girl: upstairs in the back room at JoJo (160 E. 64th St.; 212-223-5656). With the downtown girl: Mas (39 Downing St.; 212-255-1790).

Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld
Marlow & Sons. Raw oysters, runny cheeses, and thou. And there’s an organic market up front, should the question of boutique breakfast provisions arise (81 Broadway, Williamsburg; 718-384-1441).

The Day-Ending Lunch
Adam Platt
Lupa. During lunch, sun pours through the windows, the wine is excellent, and unlike at night, you can enjoy your meal in the languorous Italian manner without getting elbowed in the nose (170 Thompson St.; 212-982-5089).

Gael Greene
Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Escape urban-mania for pastoral calm. Go for what’s green: peas, favas, sugar snaps, and garlic scapes.

Jay McInerney
Le Bernardin. Get the chef’s tasting menu with Michel Couvreux’s wine pairings. You can eat Eric Ripert’s seafood all day without feeling bloated. Finish with a glass of 1929 Maury. If you stay late enough, you may get to flirt with the beautiful nighttime hostess.

Hal Rubenstein
Chanterelle. The pace is so unhurried and the room so expansive, you couldn’t possibly go back to work (2 Harrison St.; 212-966-6960).

Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld
Per Se. Order the nine-course tasting menu (with the supplementary foie gras). Then check into a room at the Mandarin Oriental for a nap.

The Totally Safe Mother- In-Law Pleaser
Adam Platt
Asiate. If she doesn’t love the food, she’ll go gaga over the lofty, glass-covered room with its view of the park. Get the roast pig (80 Columbus Circle; 212-805-8881).

Gael Greene
Daniel. Dashing chef and a menu to please anyone from fussy to old fogey (60 E. 65th St.; 212-288-0033).

Jay McInerney
‘21.’ If your MIL’s from out of town, it’s okay to sit in the middle room. But the big show’s in the front room. Bring a letter from your bank (21 W. 52nd St.; 212-582-7200).

Hal Rubenstein
Café Gray (10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-6338) or Gramercy Tavern (42 E. 20th St.; 212-477-0777). If she bitches after either, deny her the grandkids at Christmas.

Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld
La Grenouille. The last of its breed. Madame will be charmed by the floral arrangements alone (3 E. 52nd St.; 212-752-1495).

The Gonzo Foodie Fest
Adam Platt
Per Se. Foodies love to bicker about the place, but by the end of the meal, they’re usually on their knees with adoration and envy.

Gael Greene
BLT Steak. The blowsy giveaway popovers plus gratis charcuterie and silken liver mousse, then a cut of cow and truffle-scented gnocchi (106 E. 57th St.; 212-752-7470).

Jay McInerney
Canton. It’s Chinatown, Jake. Tell them to bring the weird stuff (45 Division St.; 212-226-4441).

Hal Rubenstein
Babbo. Who would have heard of fennel pollen and testa if not for Mario Batali? Order the sublime testa in thyme vinaigrette. You know it as headcheese.

Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld
wd-50. Where else can you get pickled calf’s tongue with fried mayonnaise (50 Clinton St.; 212-477-2900)?

The Wino’s Delight
Adam Platt
Cru. Where the wine list is stupendous, and the food very often lives up to it (24 Fifth Ave.; 212-529-1700).

Gael Greene
Gotham Bar and Grill. Begin with mellowed white Burgundy, then choose a red with pow to grace Alfred Portale’s aristocratic lamb (12 E. 12th St.; 212-620-4020).

Jay McInerney
Cru. Start with crudi and an Austrian Riesling. But don’t get wasted until you’ve had three or four of Shea Gallante’s killer dishes, including the amazing tagliatelle carbonara with crab.

Hal Rubenstein
Cru. If you had the money to drink this cellar dry, I’d drink to that.

Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld
Babbo. We like to flag down sommelier David Lynch and have him walk us through the enormous Italian cellar, one inscrutable varietal at a time.

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