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Where Wall Street takes its mistress to dinner

Hey, Turney. I need a spot for tonight," Paul said.

I knew the dude, but not well. He was a senior broker and I was a sales assistant. It was the late 90s and I was "The Guy." There's one in every office on Wall Street. He's the person who can tell you where to go for any occasion. He can get you a table and bypass the hassle.

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"I can make a call to Balthazar, Pastis, Union Square Café," I rattled off. "And Blue Water Gr—"

"Turney! I'm not taking my wife," Paul said. "I'm going with my girlfriend."

"Ah, got it," I said. "Get a table at Raoul's—in the garden. You walk through the kitchen. It has that Swingers/Goodfellas feel to it. Afterward go around the corner to The Red Bench. It's super dark in there. No one will see you."

To be clear — not all Wall Street guys cheat on their wives. But the ones who do definitely want to keep a division of church and state.

Here are Wall Street's hottest restaurants — and the unspoken rules of who they take there.

Best places to take–or meet–a mistress

Beauty & Essex restaurant
Source: Beauty & Essex
Beauty & Essex restaurant

Beauty and Essex (Lower East Side). Created by "Chopped" judge Chris Santos, the front is set up like a pawn shop but behind a back door is a vintage glam lounge, with a spiral staircase, dramatic chandelier and free champagne in the ladies' room. A reservation is a must for dinner, but you can spend the entire evening here, a one-stop shop. If you don't leave before midnight—you'll leave at 4 a.m.

Mark Hotel (Upper East Side). It's hit or miss on any particular night, but when it's a hit, it's like a hit of pure Ecstasy. "I've gotten more --- in that bathroom than in my own bedroom," one frequenter said. The looks are high and inhibitions low. The place isn't BYOG (bring your own girlfriend).

Saint Venus. If you don't know where this place is, there's a reason for it. The underground roving gentleman's club likes to keep its secrecy. This spot promises a "roster of civilians" (i.e., "normal" women as Thrillist explains) on their menu. But unless you get the formal invite and password—you should probably stay uptown.

Vandal (Lower East Side). Another Chris Santos creation – this one in conjunction with TAO Group – is new to the scene and sure to please any expense account. It's a massive 22,000 square foot space on two levels, with a restaurant, bar/lounge and separate lounge downstairs with a DJ. It's lounge-y, with tufted furniture and walls painted by street artists with smiling, sometimes semi-nude women. And don't trip if you see an upside down pink bunny—you're not hallucinating. This is the kind of place that Wall Street guys goes to when they want to say "they from the street" not "on the Street."

Date night with the wife

Daniel restaurant
Source: Daniel
Daniel restaurant

Whether you screwed up or just want to log some good karma points with your spouse, you take them to a place where no expense is spared.

Masa (Columbus Circle). Chef Masa Takayama, who New York magazine called an "sushi god," creates an other-worldly dining experience. At $595 per person (not including beverages and tax) it's sure to get any finance fella out of the proverbial doghouse.


Per Se (Columbus Circle). Before the wine is added to the check, you're looking at about $300 per person, but many say Thomas Keller's "over-the-top magnificent" restaurant, as Zagat describes it, is well worth it. Sitting down and looking at the Napa Valley-inspired menu while taking in the "breathtaking" park views is New York's answer to French Laundry.

Daniel (Upper East Side). Whatever is stressing you out – your job, your health, your marriage – will melt away with the exquisite elegance of Chef Daniel Boulud's cuisine. "[C]ertain restaurants, if you can afford them, can knock down the barriers between you and happiness in a few hours," Pete Wells writes in a New York Times review. The opulence, jackets required, white glove service and French fare will undoubtedly get anyone who sits across from you—in the mood. Four-course prix fixe is $142.

Getting down to business

Zuma New York
Source: Zuma New York
Zuma New York

There are some nights, you just need to talk shop. Here's where you take clients for some fine food and a little fun.

Zuma (Midtown East). Patrons of this high-end Japanese restaurant admit it's not as good as the London version, but hell it's still worth a few hundred thousand shares of business the next day. This will surely impress any of your clients in town from the Midwest.

Eleven Madison Park (Flatiron District). With French cuisine by Michelin-rated chef Daniel Humm and the elegant simplicity of its dining space, Eleven Madison Park is the perfect place for "shop talk" – from rate spreads to risk aversion.

Hunt & Fish Club (Times Square). Steakhouses have even become cliché to even the most committed traders in the business. But this spot is where brokers hunt for orders and fish for clients. And there are plenty of other creatures crawling around to look at. The New York Post says it's "where beauties trawl for sugar daddies." Hey, a little mix of business and pleasure never hurt anyone!

Milos (Midtown West). It doesn't quite feel like an island in Greece, but I haven't met a guy on the buy side who hasn't been there, at least once. It's not far from the office and close to the trains so the commuting client will appreciate it.

Commentary by Turney Duff, a former trader at the hedge fund Galleon Group. Duff chronicled the spectacular rise and fall of his career on Wall Street in the book, "The Buy Side." He's also a consultant on the upcoming Showtime show, "Billions," starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. Follow him on Twitter @turneyduff.

Catch Turney on the all-new season of CNBC's "Filthy Rich Guide," Tuesday nights at 10pm ET/PT (Starts Feb. 23).

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