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Billions Dining Guide, Season 3 *UPDATED – May 16, 2018

Billions Season Three Dining Guide

by Damianista | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | May 16, 2018

It is no secret that one of my favorite things about my favorite show is how it showcases the New York dining scene from hole-in-the-walls to neighborhood gems to Michelin-starred restaurants. And it has been my pleasure to share the information about restaurants appearing on the show first in my weekly recaps and then in a full dining guide by the end of the season for Season 1 and Season 2.

But now that our dining guides are two of the most widely read articles on the blog, and that we constantly get questions about the restaurants on the show, I have decided to take a different route this season. I am kicking off our dining guide today with the restaurants our characters visited in the first two episodes in Season 3 and I am going to update the post as we go.

I don’t know about you but the restaurant choices the show creators have made for different characters in the first two seasons look very deliberate to me. There may be exceptions but Chuck is typically likely to eat at established places – city institutions if you will – with great food that is not revolutionary but extremely well-executed. Examples: Keen’s Steakhouse and Babbo. Axe, on the other hand, seems to be more open to contemporary places that serve more experimental and inventive food. Examples: Momofuku Ko and Crif Dogs.

Chuck Senior eats at the very high-end old-school places. Examples:  Peter Luger and La Grenouille. And Wags does sushi from the strip mall body sushi to the high end Sushi Nakasawa.  All these men can go whatever restaurant they want to go in the city, and they can certainly go to the same restaurant especially if someone else is choosing for them. But their characters are written all over their choice when they make the reservations.

I was lucky to ask the show’s co-creator Brian Koppelman about this while he was doing a Twitter Q&A on a choppy flight and he was very kind to reply.

Before we dive into another brilliant season of New York food scene, massive thanks go to the show creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien for loving and honoring the dining capital of the world: Some of the places they choose are my personal favorites, some gems I discover thanks to the show, and I believe, being the forensic fan that I am, I try my best to figure all the restaurants featured in the show using a combination of hints from the scene, keyword search on Google and, hey, Google earth, too!

I describe each restaurant below as the one with what we see happening there (the one with being my tribute to another all-time favorite show Friends) attach a picture 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 add it to the list.

Bon Appetite!

Episode 1: Tie Goes to the Runner

The one with Chuck finding out Dake may not be the Calvinist he seems:

4 Charles Prime Rib: An intimate supper club in West Village serving prime steaks, fresh seafood, hand-carved slices of prime rib, and decadent desserts.

4 Charles Street, New York, NY 10014

Yelp Review

 The one with Chuck finding Ira eating pierogies:

Veselka: Serving tradition Ukranian food in the East Village since 1954. Lady Trader agrees with Ira about their pierogies!

144 Second Avenue, New York, New York  10003

Yelp Review

The one with the “Trouble Doppelganger” showing up at the Idea Dinner

Del Posto: Refined Italian restaurant. The Idea Dinner in Billions is held in the restaurant’s private dining room.

85 10th Avenue, New York, New York, 10011

Yelp Review

The one with the take-out lo mein on the meeting table at the US Attorney’s Office

Wo Hop: Take-out friendly Chinese restaurant.

17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

Yelp Review

Episode 2: The Wrong Maria Gonzalez

The one with Chuck and Dake discussing the ways to get de-Funded 

Kossar’s: Bagels and Bialys since 1936.

367 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002

Yelp Review

Episode 3: A Generation Too Late

The one with Ira not proposing and proposing to his girlfriend

source: Showtime

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! I think I need to do a return trip soon!

43 East 19th Street, NY, NY 10003

Yelp Review

The one with the burger Chef Ryan is trying to replicate to seduce Raul Gomez 

Ann’s Snack Bar: A small restaurant in Atlanta famous for its burgers.

Here is a close up to the original burger. You decide if Chef Ryan has nailed it.

1615 Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA, 30317

Yelp Review

The one with Ira still out to get Axe 

Viand Cafe: Believe it or not, it is my local diner!

2130 Broadway #1, New York, NY 10023

Yelp Review

The one with the “recession special” – 2 hot dogs and 1 drink for $5.95

Gray’s Papaya: a 24/7 open hot dog joint famous for its cheap and yummy hot dogs! I was very lucky to be LIVE on location while they were shooting at Gray’s Papaya. Come join me in a FUN behind the scenes experience here!

2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

Yelp Review

Episode 4: Hell of a Ride

The one with Chuck sharing his childhood secrets with Wendy

Brandy Library: An institution of fine drinking in the heart of Tribeca since 2003.

25 North Moore St, New York, NY 10013

Yelp Review

The one with Black Jack Foley telling Chuck about how to take care about his father 

Donohue’s Steakhouse: A homey place for steaks and other straightforward classics in vintage, dark-wood quarters. Donohue’s does not have a website but the New York Times has a loving piece about the place.

845 Lexington Ave New York, NY 10065

Yelp Review

The one with Sean Ayles trying to sell the efficacy of Axelrod Foundation to Taylor

North End Grill: Another brilliant establishment from New York’s most important restaurateur Danny Meyer serving “rustic, elemental French-inspired cooking infused with subtle smoke from the restaurant’s wood-burning grills.” You can hear Billions co-creator and show runner Brian Koppelman talk to Meyer on his podcast The Moment here.

104 North End Ave (at Vesey St Battery Park) New York, NY 10282

Yelp Review

The one with Axe reminding World-Aid chairman that he is not King Cole

King Cole Bar, St. Regis Hotel: An upscale lounge serving located in the very upscale St. Regis Hotel. The centerpiece of the bar is a well-known mural depicting Old King Cole, painted by Maxfield Parish in 1906. Legend has it that this bar is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary.

2 East 55th St, New York, NY 10022

Yelp Review

The one with Axe and Oscar celebrating their win at World-Aid board meeting

Ghenet: A relaxed restaurant serving traditional Ethiopian dishes like meat and vegetable stews and home-made injera bread.

348 Douglass Street Brooklyn, NY 11217

Yelp Review

Episode 5: Flaw in the Death Star

The one with Axe and Wags welcoming Spyros to the family 

Daniel: *SPECIAL OCCASION* A 2 Michelin-starred elegant and jacket-required French restaurant named after its owner and executive chef, the legendary Daniel Boulud. The chef has several restaurants all over the city as well as in Boston, Miami, Palm Beach, Washington D.C, Montreal, Toronto, London, Singapore, and Tokyo with Daniel being the flagship.

And as much as it seems Chef Boulud has made an exception for Axe regarding the jacket, their usual practice is to provide a loaner to men that show up without jackets! I know it because Lewisto showed up there once without a jacket on a warm summer evening! It was hilarious that the dining room was full of men wearing the exact same jacket!

Below is a wonderful 15-minute video of the chef along with other city legends whom I hope to see in Billions in the seasons to come, namely Eric Ripert of Le Bernardine, Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean-Georges, and Jacques Torres of Jacques Torres talk about how they met in New York in 1980s, bonded over their French roots and revolutionized the NYC food scene.

60 East 65th Street New York, NY 10065

Yelp Review

Next to making a wonderful cameo on the show, it turns out Chef Boulud prepared some special food for the cast and the show creators at the end of the shoot which they had at a private room above his kitchen. And Damian’s review of the food obviously has as much weight as Yelp here!

The one with Taylor missing the chance to have dinner with Oscar 

State Bird Provisions: A hip San Francisco urban-rustic storefront setting serving a changing menu of American small plates.

Well, we do not see this one in Billions, but we hear Oscar asking Taylor to have dinner with him and that he could make reservations at State Bird Provisions. While Taylor regretfully passes on the offer because they have other plans for the night, I was extremely lucky to have dinner there with a wonderful friend of mine after the two of us made a tribute video to Brody and Carrie after Homeland Season 3. As Charlie Crews would agree, everything is connected!

1529 Fillmore Street San Francisco, CA 94115

Yelp Review

Episode 6: The Third Ortolan

The one with Foley and Chuck eating crunchy pig ears

The Spotted Pig: Chef April Bloomfield‘s legendary gastropub in New York. And while Foley’s favorite item on the menu is the pig ears, I would highly recommend their burger. Please have it as the chef suggest, medium-rare, and you will thank me!  Since the restaurant does not accept reservations, the wait can get brutally long if you want to go during prime time.

Try lunch, or early and late dinner with them and I guarantee you will be a very happy diner! In case you cannot get into The Spotted Pig, I also highly recommend Chef Bloomfield’s other restaurant The Breslin as well.

314 W 11th Street New York, NY 10014

Yelp Review

The One with the Ortolan 

This is not a restaurant but it is inevitable to talk about the almost spiritual dining experience that titles the episode.

What does a true friend do for his “sinking down” friend? Wags makes Axe meet the ortolan, a delicate songbird, as well as a delicacy in French cuisine, typically cooked and eaten whole.

The traditional way of eating the ortolan involves the diner covering his head with a large napkin which is, the legends says, to shield the shame of such a decadent and disgraceful act from God’s eyes, and, the French chefs say, to keep the aromas from escaping: One part pagan ritual, one part essay in gluttony, if you will.

Axe and Wags have this experience, which feels more orgasmic than religious, with Wylie Dufresne of all people, a ridiculously talented chef whose WD-50 we LOVED. I still remember the first meal we had there and Lewisto asking Wylie if he could give him a hug. And you can now visit the chef’s Du’s Donuts and Coffee in Brooklyn.

Killing and selling the ortolan has been banned in France since the late 1990s. The ban does not only have to do with the bird being a rare species but also with the method used to kill the bird. Wylie Dufresne explains in the episode that they don’t blind the birds as they did in old times anymore but they still drown them in Armagnac, and guess what, that is exactly how Wags wants to go to his eternal resting place that he secured in Episode 4 Hell of a Ride. Besides, he is still a little peckish. And his exchange with the chef when he asks for the seconds is all Wags!

“Got any more? I’m still a little peckish.”

“One is bliss. Two is gluttony.”

“How about three?”

“Let’s find out.”

Episode 8: All The Wilburys

The one with Axelrod boys eating dinner with Helena

Despite all my efforts, from keyword search to Google Earth, I was not able to find what this place was. Many thanks go to Ginny, one of our readers, who came to our help and told us this is JoJo, a Jean-Georges place on the Upper East Side!

JoJo: A French Bistro serving  in a brownstone since 1991.

Read the rest of the original article at Fan Fun with Damian Lewis. The Dining Guide will be updated after each future Billions episode airs. Stay informed by following the original article at Fan Fun with Damian Lewis