One of the best parts of watching Showtime's "Billions" is seeing the characters wheel and deal over meals at real-life famous New York City restaurants.
On Sunday's season 4 premiere, ex-U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (played by Paul Giamatti) ping pongs around Upper and Midtown Manhattan, tracking down power players at hot spots from Barney Greengrass to Marea, trying to get an important deal done. Here's a rundown on the IRL places he hits.
In an effort to secure a hard-to-get concealed carry gun permit for an important client, Rhoades tracks down police commissioner Richie Sansome (Michael Rispoli) having breakfast at Barney Greengrass.
World-renown for its smoked fish ( "The Sturgeon King," the storefront's faded sign boasts), Barney Greengrass is a family-run operation that has occupied its 86th Street and Amsterdam Avenue location since 1929 (before that it was located in Harlem since 1908). And it hasn't changed all that much.
"The investment in interior decoration has been minimalist.... I don't think they have spent a dime on the non-essentials since the Truman Administration," wrote David Remnick, a self-professed regular, for Bon Appetit in June.
A sturgeon platter (which comes with potato salad or coleslaw, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, pickle, lemon, cream cheese and two Bagels or bialys) costs $43.
Looking for an introduction to Ambassador Suarez (Raul Torres) from the Dominican Republic, Rhoades sits down with the man who can do it (Freddie Eisen, played by Andrew Polk) at E.A.T., a cafe and take out joint on the Upper East Side.
Owned by Eli Zabar, son of the founder of Manhattan's even more famous specialty food store Zabar's, E.A.T. has been a New York staple for over 45 years.
According to its website, E.A.T. serves "overstuffed sandwiches on Eli's bread; the iconic 'Tower of Bagel'; small batch salads, carefully-made several times a day; freshly roasted coffee, and flaky breakfast pastries. Expect a polyglot mix of locals and tourists enjoying their E.A.T. favorites, whether it's matzo ball soup or a caviar omelet."
And expect to pay a pretty penny: That matzo ball soup will cost you $16 and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich costs $26.
Looking for a favor from advertising mogul and TV personality Donny Deutsch (who plays himself), Rhoades heads to Michael's on West 55th Street.
The California-style restaurant is the place where OG New York publishing and media bigwigs (like Deutsch) schmooze. It serves lots of fish and $22 salads.
"It's a cross between a peacock farm and a high-school cafeteria. It's so New York," Katie Couric once told The Hollywood Reporter of Michael's.
Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) meets up with her husband at The Pool to help him snag a season of first tracks at Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah from Steven Birch (Jerry O'Connell).
As its name would suggest, The Pool restaurant has a pool in the middle of its dining room. That's because its in the location of the old Four Seasons restaurant on East 52nd Street, which also had the square, marble pool as its centerpiece.
The Pool serves seafood, including caviar, and is cashless. "Eating there is like dating somebody who looks great, gives you presents, takes you on trips and tries to convince you that you're happy until the day you find out that the gifts and plane tickets were charged to your credit card," Pete Wells wrote in The New York Times.
Rhoades' meeting with the Dominican ambassador takes place at Marea's unmistakable back-lit onyx bar.
With its two Michelin stars, Marea in Columbus Circle is an iconic, pricey Manhattan eatery. It serves coastal Italian fare, so though it's a seafood restaurant, it's widely praised for its pasta, too. The Infatuation called the fusilli with red wine-braised octopus and bone marrow "straight up dreamy" and "ridiculous."
Rhoades' day comes full circle when he meets with Sansome at Sparks Steak House to end the night. A New York institution for more than 50 years, even Sparks' website is old school.
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