$5,000 Hamburger: One Claims It Was ‘Absolutely Worth It’. No, It Was Not.

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

While I consider myself to be more of libertarian and believe individuals should be able to spend their money as they please, no matter how foolishly, there are times where conspicuous consumption is so insulting and demeaning to those who have little it can only be described as a bit immoral.

I read a review by Robert Frank of CNBC of a restaurant that serves a Five Thousand Dollar Hamburger created by Chef Hubert Keller’s “Fleur” restaurant at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The articles author claims the burger was “absolutely worth it.”

Obviously, I don’t doubt the quality or the hype–reportedly twenty-eight of these burgers have been reportedly sold so far–congratulations to them for being such a good business model and their windfall but what is the social cost to this level of arrogant consumption given that ordinary people must work to pay for basics.

The ingredients of this oxymoronic ‘exquisite hamburger’ include the following:

  1. Wagyu beef ($100 a pound)
  2. Prime foie gras ($45 a pound)
  3. Sliced black truffles ($1,500 a pound)
  4. 1995 Petrus ($5,000 per bottle)

The bottle is an accompaniment to, as Jules from the film “Pulp Fiction” says, as “your tasty beverage to wash it down.”

The experience of the Fleur Burger 5000 is described by Mr. Frank as:

With wine in hand, I lifted the earthy, oozing Fleur burger to my mouth and took my first bite. And for the first time ever on “Secret Lives of the Super Rich,” I was completely at a loss for words. My exact quote, on camera, was, “Oh! Wow. Oh. My. God.”

And there it is. A five thousand dollar experience digested to one paragraph.

The penultimate line in the article, “Would I pay $5,000 for a Fleur burger? Absolutely — if I were a billionaire.”

For curiosity purposes I sorted a spreadsheet of mine to determine the cost of our food consumption over the course of a year. The food expense for my household, comprising three adults, was $7,295.94 or $2,431.98 per person. For the cost of this one meal in question, my wife and I could have eaten for a year. Once a month, my church serves dinner for the needy. We provide dinner for around one hundred fifty persons for less than two dollars each. (food is donated)

That is the problem my friends. Even if one was fortunate enough to acquire a billion dollars in net worth you have to ask yourself if it is a higher calling to subsist on four figure dinners or to consume food of a higher standard, yet forgo the arrogance and accept that you are rare in situation. But for those that choose otherwise, spare us the tokenism and hypocrisy of self-promoting a regal lifestyle but professing the façade of “caring for the little people” by tweeting how you are a champion for social justice.

Again I say that a person should be free live a lifestyle of their choosing, but have at least a modicum of understanding of others.

Still, if a fleur type burger is something you must have. I might suggest Buddy LaFleur’s restaurant in Wenatchee, Washington. A Buddy Burger with a Lime Rickey is my recommendation–if you want a tasty burger for five hundred times less.

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

90 thoughts on “$5,000 Hamburger: One Claims It Was ‘Absolutely Worth It’. No, It Was Not.”

  1. DS puts a blog on an expensive hamburger something funny and far removed from political chatter. Then the obsessed with President Trump jump in and somehow turn the blog to him. Some of you better seek help, spend some time with you children or grandchildren or give your wife or girlfriend a hit or two because man a few of you are F’d up.

  2. I don’t begrudge anyone being free to blow their massive fortune on themselves selfishly. That is one of the great incentives which drive men to dream, and accomplish. Everyone has their own motivation.

    Why huff at this man just because you choose to live much more frugally?

    You’ll be huffing and puffing at a lot of folks when shaking your head and muttering, going back to your own life is probably the best thing you can do.

    Celebrate that people have the freedom to make such wild business ventures- and that marketed properly, it can succeed!

    Dare to dream, come up with your own wild scheme which seems obscene but makes the green.

    MY IDEA? Transportation cannons! (physical laws as we know them to be worked around later)

    Shot out of a cannon with a wingsuit/parachute, glide to your destination <50miles radius!


  3. It is obscene. We stayed @ the Mandalay Bay recently and saw this burger being marketed. You have to understand the over the top culture of Vegas to understand this. I don’t like the loud, visually distracting, cacophony of Vegas. I do like the many fine restaurants and the well run casinos. I also like that you can go downtown and hang w/ the blue collar folks. Atlantic City is a ghetto so it’s no place for me. Reno/Tahoe is most to my liking, but it needs more casinos and better dining IMHO. What gets me to Vegas is you can get beautiful rooms @ a very good rate, excellent food[not this obscene burger] and MANY places to play craps and blackjack.

    I was raised in a libertarian household. “To each their own” was a phrase I often heard from my mother. Consumption like this can be challenging to the libertarian, but I can handle it.

    1. I can both laugh it off and challenge it. In fact, I need to do both.


      “This most celebrated sparkling wine always seems to signal “special occasion.” Though bubbling wines under various appellations abound throughout the world, true champagne comes only from the Champagne region in northeast France. Most countries bow to this tradition by calling their sparkling wines by other names such as spumante in Italy, Sekt in Germany and vin mousseux in other regions of France. Only in America do some wineries refer to their bubbling wine as “champagne.””


      It might be good beef. No one is saying it isn’t. I love a good Angus or Hereford steak as much as anyone. It might be paired with good wine. But it’s not Wagyu, and it’s not Champagne.

  4. I seriously doubt old money spends $5,000 for a burger without there being a financial incentive for it. The burger is sold in Las Vegas at a casino restaurant. My guess is the buyers of this burger are the new money types who promised themselves they would blow it on such things if they ever hit it big at the casino. So the house is getting its money back. And Las Vegas marches right along.

    1. Spot on Olly. Vegas has a lot of nouveau riche and they are always looking to spend and have bragging rights.

    1. No. Somebody has to break through the wagyu myth.It needs wider play. JT is to be commended.

    2. So let’s make it a story for you Feyd. Do you oppose free will? You know, the free will to follow a blog and hit delete rather than post a comment?

    3. This is a relevant story – demonstrates the divide and Age of Excess while our veterans and mentally ill live on the streets.

  5. Trump would never piss away $5,000 for a burger. Even if the government was paying for it, he’d make a better deal.

    Two things distinguish humans from wild animals: A fry pan for toxifying food, and a health care system for staying alive.

  6. I won’t pay more than $50 for a steak. I am sure as hell not going to pay $5000 for a hamburger. That is not even close to being on my bucket list.

  7. “1. Wagyu beef ($100 a pound)”

    When you see wagyu beef advertised, run. Do not walk, run. It’s a scam. The purveyor probably doesn’t even know, because he or she has been scammed.

    Wa refers to Japan. Gyu means cow. So literally wagyu means “Japanese cow.” So it could mean any cow from Japan. Traditionally it refers to four specific breeds, but it gets it reputation from the Tajima gyu, which is the only breed that can be legitimately called Kobe beef. That’s the one. It’s outstanding. It’s delicious. You can get it in Japan and it will cost you but not $5 big ones. And as far as I know it still can’t be imported to the US. It could not be imported when I as in the restaurant business, which I left in 2012.

    You can not get Tajima gyu beef at a Vegas casino. What are you getting when you order what’s advertised as wagyu on a menu? Who the f*** knows. It may or may not have some tenuous relationship to a Japanese cow.

    In most of the civilized world you can not sell a counterfeit product. For instance, if you’re going to sell Parmesan cheese, it has to come from the Parmigiano-Reggiano regions of Italy. Italy has food purity laws; there are only three ingredients that an go into authentic Parmesan. But the US doesn’t participate in the international compacts regarding food labeling. You can sell anything remotely resembling actual Parmesan as if it were Parmesan. What are you getting when you go to the liquor store and buy a bottle of champagne? Almost certainly not a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. It’s legal to call it champagne in the US. In most of the rest of the world it’s not.

    And it might be great beef, or cheese, or wine. But it should not steal the reputation of the authentic product but rather stand on it’s own.

    The only way someone would have an orgasm over a $5k burger is if he or she was thoroughly indoctrinated. Brainwashed. But the good news is that there’s a money making opportunity here.

    1. “You can not get Tajima gyu beef at a Vegas casino.” How do you know this? Mandalay Bay, although older, is one of the best resorts in Vegas – why would they risk their reputation selling a fake product? There is so much $$$ in Vegas it’s insane and the high end restaurants are thriving – indeed there are planes that fly directly from various countries with fresh fish and other exotic (expensive) foods daily. With all the competition I seriously doubt they would take a chance passing off counterfeit beef.

      1. ““You can not get Tajima gyu beef at a Vegas casino.” How do you know this?”

        Uhh, cuz I operated a Japanese restaurant until 2012. And I couldn’t f***ing get it into the country.

        1. But did you have the financial backing and power of a top rated casino restaurant? My bro was an executive steward at one of the newer hip casinos and I took a walking tour with him as he visited the restaurants on the property. One was a seafood place – I was astounded – never seen such a variety (or such prices!) in my life. It was flown in daily from the Adriatic coast. Maybe you are right – all I know is the moneyed and powerful do not operate under the constraints as ordinary business folk in my experience.

    2. My dad visited Japan in the 1950s while in the US Navy. He had Kobe Beef several times and remarked later it was probably some of the best beef he ever had. Coming from a man who’s father owned a meat market, he certainly knew what he was talking about.

      I don’t know if the meat is the same today. But given that in Japan there seems to be an almost religious devotion to keeping certain items pure, I hope for tradition’s sake it remains true today. Its hard to find today since modern times have steadily eroded the quality of food and tradition.

      A friend and I found a sushi bar that actually had decent product for good price. But unfortunately the ownership must have changed because Japanese immigrants no longer worked up front. It declined markedly because the new staff no longer took pride in their work. We stopped going there and jokingly refer to the place as “Calamari por favor”

  8. $5000? I would cry, paying $500.
    And the nagging cost would prevent me from enjoying it.
    My best Hamburger was back in the 60’s, my father had invested in a small nightclub in the burbs.
    He brought my brother and I to visit in the daytime on a Saturday.
    We punched in ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark on the classic jutebox.
    And sitting at the bar we were served the most glorious cheeseburger.
    Trying to duplicate it (aged dry meat?)
    For the next 50 years, I believe will never happen.

  9. Sorry what ever kind of publicity stunt this is I’ve yet to meet a hamburger worth more than the 35 cents with fries and a coke I paid in high school.. I’m sure the photography could have been better but looking at that G. Dawful mess of C.Rap was E.nuff. Where would you keep the bragging rights trophy? B.Arfed down the front of a clean white T.S. Hirt

  10. If you believe in trickle down economics, then you should urge your neighborhood billion-air to eat as many $5000 hamburgers as many as possible.

    It is a win win situation. Great food and great stimulus to the economy.

    Think of all the maitre d’ s, wine stewards, wait staff, and dish washers that will be employed. Think of all the new businesses, restaurants, kitchen supply distributors that will be called into competition till the $5000 hamburger becomes a $2500 hamburger – and maybe even a $1000 hamburger for the masses!

    Clearly the invisible hand needs to put a $5000 hamburger in the mouth of every billion-air.

    Thank you free markets, competition and innovation.

  11. Darren, again, presents with this post what is important to us all.

    The Georgetown Enquirer never fails in presenting salient topics.

  12. Speaking of billonaires, conspicuous consumption, and philistinism, one of the protestors outside Trump Towers had a large sign which alleged that “Trump puts ketchup on hot dogs.”

    Now if true, that should give pause to even the most zealous Trump supporter. I mean, it’s one thing to coddle the rich and cozen the poor, but to desecrate iconic American cuisine is unabashed philistinism, if not outright unpatriotical.

    1. The fact that President Trump would eat a hotdog, proves he doesn’t mind getting stomach cancer along with the little guy. 😜

    2. Ken Rogers – PBS did an hour series on how hot dogs are preferred across the country. It was a fascinating culinary journey.

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