My husband and I are crazy foodies. He loves to cook (we are talking about a man who bakes bread, brews beer and makes pancetta here!) and we both love to eat. Thus, NYC dining scene, from its “special occasion” restaurants to yummy hole-in-the-walls to city institutions to cozy neighborhood joints, making memorable appearances in Billions makes us smile big!
Today I turn that big smile into Billions Season 2 dining guide with a huge THANK YOU to the show creators for loving and honoring the dining capital of the world: Some of these places are my personal favorites and I believe, being the forensic fan that I am, I have been able to figure out almost all of them using hints from the scene as well as Google and, hey, Google earth, too! 🙂 And big thanks go to Brian Koppelman for kindly answering a few of our restaurant related questions on Twitter.
I describe each restaurant as the one with what we see happening there (the one with being my tribute to another all-time favorite show Friends) attach a pic of the scene as a refresher and a link to restaurant website as well as its Yelp review where available. I really hope you have a chance to try one or several of these places and send us feedback. Please let me know if I am missing anything and I am happy to work on it.
Episode 1: Risk Management
The one with Chuck kicking off the competition for the newly vacated Head of Crim seat
Battery Gardens: Restaurant/bar/beer garden serving American-Continental fare with a view of Statue of Liberty.
1 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004
Episode 2: Dead Cat Bounce
The one with THAT Pastrami Sandwich Ira picks up for lunch on his way to the office
Katz’s Delicatessen: Katz’s is a city institution that has been around since 1885! It is a place we go often but also take whoever visits us in New York to. And, believe me, even though I had THAT pastrami sandwich many times, once it appeared on Billions, I craved it for weeks… until I had my own. YUM! The good news is they ship nationwide!
205 East Houston, New York, NY 10002
The one with Axe meeting Bruno’s nephew Marc(o)
Rosa’s Pizza: A popular neighborhood pizza joint in Middle Village. We took the M train to Rosa’s last summer and here is our detailed report. In short, we highly recommend the nonna pie that even Bryan could not say no in Season 1 Finale 😀
Bruno’s pizza joint, Capparello’s, was Axe’s go-to place when he was a kid. Bruno seems to be the only father figure in Axe’s life but now that he broke his heart later in the season, we do not know if we will see Bruno ever again but HOPE for his happy return 🙂 And, hey, I am a believer in San Marzano tomatoes, too.
7559 Metropolitan Ave, Middle Village, NY 11379 (Queens)
The one with Ira arranging a double date for Chuck and himself
Craft: Chef Tom Colicchio‘s (Top Chef, anyone?) flagship restaurant in New York. I went to Craft back in early 2000s when the restaurant received a James Beard Award for the Best New Restaurant nationwide. But I am sure it still surpasses expectations!
43 East 19th Street, New York, NY 10003
The one with Wags getting out of control and, hey, he is right!
Sushi Nakazawa: Chef Nakazawa opening his own sushi place in New York was a dream coming true for many that fell in love with the brilliant documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi in which Nakazawa appeared as Chef Jiro Ono’s apprentice.
Sushi Nakazawa is certainly a special occasion place. Having said that if you LOVE your sushi, make this one your next special occasion dinner, it is more than WORTH IT! You are welcome to use chopsticks or eat with your hand like Wags does in the show — they provide napkins. Besides, they pay attention. The moment they noticed I was left-handed, they changed the way they placed the sushi on the plate for me (you usually eat from right to left which is a bit complicated for a left-handed person) and even apologized for noticing it a bit late 😀 Incredible service.
The 20-piece Omakase is an orgasmic food experience to say the least. It includes (the menu changes seasonally) wonderful cuts of fish, varying from a salmon flight, a tuna flight to dungeon crab and sweet shrimp and golden straight yellow tail to rosy seabass, uni from Japan and California, a handroll, and you can also choose extra items from the menu… we went for Wagyu Beef sushi…
And the feast ends with…
“The Egg! The Egg!”
And, believe me, the tamago deserves the hype!
Finally, if you want to sit at the sushi bar like Wags, make sure you make reservations far in advance! We sat in the beautiful dining room but I will make sure to sit at the bar next time! 😀
23 Commerce Street, New York, NY 10004
Episode 3: Optimal Play
The one with Boyd and Axe talking about Chuck and Stalin over lunch
Three Guys: American Diner
960 Madison Avenue (b/w 75th and 76th Streets) New York, NY 10021
Episode 4: The Oath
The one with Mark Cuban telling Axe to stop fucking with the US Attorney
100 East 63rd Street, New York, NY 10065
The one with Axe pretending to pledge to “Giving Oath” over hot dogs
Crif Dogs: Traditional and Creative Hot Dogs
Crif Dogs has a couple of locations. Axe and Besinger have their “goddamn delicious” dogs in Williamsburg.
555 Driggs Avenue (at 7th Street) Brooklyn, NY 11211
The dogs are mostly beef/pork but they also have an all-beef called New Yorker. Lewisto and I had two dogs each. I recommend the Tsunami (a house dog, bacon-wrapped, with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions) and he recommends the Chihuahua (bacon-wrapped dog covered with avocados and sour cream).
BUT how many dogs did Damian eat during the shoot? THAT is the question 😀
You can only imagine how many hot dogs Damian ate while shooting this scene. Well on his way to a pro-eating side hustle.
— BillionsWritersRoom (@BillionsWriters) March 13, 2017
The one with us meeting Burke Brothers for the first time
Cullen’s Tavern: Neighborhood bar and grill. Having appeared a couple of times in Billions this season, the bar seems to be turning into a a staple in the show.
4340 White Plains Road Bronx, NY 10466
The ones with Chuck and Bryan talking shop in front of
Food trucks are all the rage in NYC and everywhere else and we have a couple of them in this scene!
Follow @gcnyc1 on Twitter to find out the truck’s location on a given day
Chuck is on a diet so he may not want to see Bryan have #5 Sharp Cheddar with BBQ Pulled Pork and Caramelized Onions on Wheat Bread but you can absolutely try it! 😀
Follow @EddiesPizzaNY on Twitter to find the pizza truck’s current location. Note that they also have a restaurant on Long Island.
Episode 5: Currency
The one with three hedgies walking into a diner 😀
Blauvelt Coach Diner: Modest breakfast-to-dinner spot serving American fare.
587 Route 303, Blauvelt, NY 10913
The one with Axe and Donald Thayer talking about Sandicot
Momofuku Ko: Well, Chef David Chang’s inventive Asian food from Momofuku Ssam Bar appeared on Axe’s jet in Season 1. Chef Chang himself now makes a cameo and serves the seasonal tasting menu at his two-michelin-star restaurant Momofuku Ko to Axe and his guest. Momofuku Ko is a special occasion place. For more budget options, try Chef Chang’s other restaurants: I know Billions Writers Room loves Ssam Bar and my personal favorite is Nishi.
8 Extra Place (off 1st street between 2nd Avenue and Broadway) New York, NY 10003
And this Instagram post from Chef Chang is everything 😀
The one with McKinnon making Boyd sing about Treasury bids
Ai Fiori: A one-michelin-star French/Italian restaurant from Chef Michael White where the menu, in particular the hand-made pastas, SHINE.
400 5th Avenue 2nd Level Langham Place New York, NY 10018
The one with Chuck taking a break from his diet to celebrate Boyd’s arrest
Mile End Delicatessen: A Jewish deli specializing in traditional foods such as house made smoked meat sandwiches and other Montreal-style Jewish deli staples.
JaniaJania has chosen this one as the most appetizing food of the season in our Best of Billions post. I am copying her description of the food here.
“As Chuck devours fully loaded carbs at the Mile End right after he’s arrested Boyd, it’s not just the great food, it’s the damn near orgasmic sensuality of consuming great food. Pastrami on rye with mustard, goodness, with errant bits of meat dipped into the garlicky gravy of a heaping plate of poutine? God bless us every one: to the joy of the now.”
Amen, sister 😀
Brooklyn (where Chuck eats): 97A Hoyt Street Brooklyn, NY 11217
Manhattan: 53 Bond Street New York, NY 10012
Episode 6: Indian Four
The one with Lara taking the check and the chopper 😀
Movie Magic: Oh, no, not the name of the restaurant, the entire thing IS movie magic. We got asked by a number of readers about this restaurant where the chef sends Axelrods a 1975 Chateau d’yquem. Many thanks go to Brian Koppelman for very kindly giving us the answer:
“The Lara scene is movie magic and not a real restaurant.”
And you don’t know how much time I spent online to find it. Silly me 😀
Episode 7: Victory Lap
The one with Bryan coming clean to Chuck about the call to IPO
Keens Chophouse: Another city institution that has been around since 1885! We see Chuck and Bryan eating in the private Lambs Room, but the main dining room is equally nice with the ceiling covered with old pipes exactly like the Lambs Room. Keens has the biggest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world and also has several pipes on display at the entrance whose owners vary from Babe Ruth to Teddy Roosevelt to General MacArthur.
And, you know, Chuck and I do not see eye to eye about much but we are absolutely on the same page at Keens:
Chuck: “The mutton chop is the thing to order here.”
Me: “Yes, sir!”
72 West 36th Street (b/w 5th and 6th Avenues) New York, NY 10018
The one with Chuck asking for a favor from Adam
Peking Duck House: They bring and carve the duck at your table. Served with pancakes, house hoisin sauce and plum sauce, and shredded cucumber and scallion, you can’t go wrong with the Peking Duck here! The prices are very good and it is a BYOB except for beer. GO NOW!
And it is all about what Adam says:
28 Mott Street (b/w Mosco Street and Pell Street) New York, NY 10013
Episode 8: The Kingmaker
The one with Wags pretending to flirt with The Patriot Bank guys
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse: A steakhouse founded by Wolfgang Zwiener, the head waiter of Peter Luger Steakhouse, in 2004. It has multiple locations in the city and elsewhere. We see Wags and company at the flagship restaurant on Park Avenue.
4 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016
The one with Ira having a truffle martini
I have not been able to figure out this particular bar/restaurant. However, given that the truffle martini is the focus here, I have found a place that serves the drink 😀 According to an article in Town & Country, MAMO in Soho was the only place in the city in 2015 that had truffle martini, a combination of Black Moth truffle Vodka with Campari and dry vermouth, on the menu. It is likely some other places have followed suit since then.
Episode 9: Sic Transit Imperium
The one with Chuck having the Garbage Plate
Sparky’s Diner: American Diner
I have not been to Sparky’s Diner so I do not know if they really have Garbage Plate on their menu. The dish is a Rochester (what a small world: I went to school there!) specialty, a trademarked dish, that tastes way better than its name. I would urge you all to give it a chance! 🙂
129 Ramapo Road, Garnerville, NY 10923
Episode 10: With or Without You
The one with Bryan trying to be Ed Harris to Taylor’s Tom Cruise
City of Saints Coffee Roasters: Coffee shop with three locations in the city.
We see Bryan and Taylor at East Village location: 79 E 10th St (at 4th Ave) New York, NY 10003
The one with Chuck meeting Miss Dominatrix
The Original Sandwich Shoppe: A family run sandwich shop and a West Village staple for decades
58 Greenwich Avenue, Suite A, New York, NY 10011
The one with Chuck and Wendy going back to good old days
Well, this one required some real forensic research but I think I got it right 😀
Mima Vinoteca: Modern Italian cooking.
63 Main Street, Irvington, NY 10533
Episode 11: Golden Frog Time
The one with Wendy not allowing Chuck to make coffee in the kitchen
Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Coffee shop with branches in New York, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and New Orleans.
It seems Stumptown is not the choice of coffee only in Chuck and Wendy’s house but also in Billions Writers Room. The good news is you can order online and try it, too
Yelp Review (for Village location)
In case you missed it: Our Billions Season 1 Dining Guide is here.