A bit over a month ago we polled Business Insider’s Wall Street readers to find out where bankers, traders, and the like really enjoy grabbing a meal.
After letting the survey marinate for a bit, a winner began to emerge — Del Frisco’s Restaurant.
To be honest, we were a little shocked. Del Frisco’s is Texas-based a chain, and it’s not the most expensive or flashy (Remember: this is Wall Street) restaurant in NYC.
So why, in a town chock-full of the newest this and the most expensive that, was Del Frisco’s selected? Business Insider decided to head over to the restaurant to find out why.
The main reason is this — Del Frisco’s is a service driven restaurant. Unlike a lot of NYC spots, the chef is not in charge, you are. Anything you want, just ask manager Scott Gould and he’ll make sure you walk out happy.
Of course, that means management makes a lot of tweaks to ensure that every diner’s experience is completely enjoyable. We’ve narrowed in on some of the Wall Street specific measures, but we’re fairly sure that these are things anyone can appreciate.
15 years ago, Del Frisco's moved into what used to be the lobby of Chemical Bank (until it merged in Chase in 1995).
That's why when you walk in the first thing you'll notice are the high ceilings and the massive windows.
Del Frisco's is managed by Scott Gould, a former bond trader. He traded EM debt for a few firms and had landed at Oppenheimer when 9/11 happened. He was on the 36th floor of 1 World Trade and his boss, who had lived through the WTC bombing of '93, told everyone to run to the street.
They reached the ground floor a little before the 2nd plane hit.
A few months later Gould decided to quit Wall Street and go back to the restaurant world. He called Del Frisco's, where he'd taken clients many times before, and asked to start wherever they could fit him in -- that was at the bottom, but he worked his way to the top.
Gould can show you where the power tables are, but if you walk in, you already know.
It all depends on whether or not you want to be seen or if you want to see. Some power tables are the ones that patrons see right-smack-dab as they walk into the restaurant, the other ones are private and make it possible for diners to see what's going on all around them.
Either way, Gould has copious notes on how to accommodate heavy hitters. Gotta stay organised.
Gould makes it a point to check his clients' earnings. It could mean the difference between champagne showers, and well...
And for what it's worth, Gold sees economic indicators everywhere in the restaurant based on who's buying what when -- just ask him about it.
Business Insider watched Mike recall a drink that a patron had ordered two days before based solely on facial recognition. We were impressed, so he made it into the slideshow.
'I promise you this, I don't go home and study this... but I do pride myself on being able to get you what you were drinking when you say 'can I have another?',' said Mike.
Del Frisco's isn't necessarily your spot if you want a quiet dinner. It's more of a friendly dinner party.
'It's loud, it's boisterous, and you're going to bump into people you've worked with in the past,' said Gould.
Or maybe you'll run into someone you've always wanted to meet, like the time the entire mezzanine of the restaurant gave Jeremy Lin a standing ovation during the height of Linsanity.
Last October Gould invited 170 regulars for a private 'magnum party' on the mezzanine. He got the idea because guests were constantly comparing what they had stocked at homes to the selection on Del Frisco's massive wine list.
Consider it an, 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours' affair.
After a while, said Gould, the party goers were walking around not just showing what they brought, but also sharing it.
Who doesn't like a story like that?
The offer is whatever you think is a good price for a 1997 magnum of Harlan.
If that's too much pressure, you can always go for a $7,995 bottle.
Gould says he can't say 'no', so when a customer wants to throw ice cream on a side dish and call it dessert (or something) that's what is done.
Fun Fact: This Del Frisco's location is also the 2nd highest grossing restaurant in America.
We will divulge one secret about what is OFF the menu at Del Frisco's-- this 3 icing, seven layer lemon doberge cake is there, but in secret. It also completely out of this world delicious.
The rest you'll have to figure out yourself.
For lobster tails as big as a child's torso, only Australia's crustaceans will do. Gould says the lobsters are able to grow to this size because the water is cold all year around.
It should be the law.
This is Del Frisco's signature cocktail, 'The VIP'. If you go to Del Frisco's you'll notice a bunch of pineapples soaking in vodka on the bar. That's clementine flavored vodka and after two weeks of sitting, those pineapples will be pureed into a drink that tastes like juice.
You've been warned.