Man Who’s Eaten At 99 Of The World’s Top 100 Restaurants Got Screwed On His Final Meal

by 11 months ago
fatty tuna sushi toro

Getty Image / vapadiii

It’s hard to see other people living out your dreams and Paul Grinberg, an international ops manager for a finance company in San Diego, is living out my dream. Since 2011, he’s eaten at 99 of the world’s top 100 restaurants. There’s a decent-sized group of affluent foodies and gastro-writers who have eaten at all of the Top 50 restaurants in the world but nobody has eaten at all of the top 100, yet.

Featured in a profile yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, 57-year-old Paul Grinberg travels over 250 days a year for work and has eaten everything from alligator tendon to shark belly, from ants to sperm sacks (he says he hasn’t eaten anything illegal, as far as he knows). One time on a trip to France he ate at TEN three-star Micheline restaurants in five days. Having eaten at a few restaurants like that myself I cannot imagine how ungodly full he must’ve been at the end of that trip after eating all of that rich food. On a recent trip to Portugal, I had three tasting menus in three days from Michelin-starred restaurants and wasn’t able to eat for over 24 hours afterward because I was so damn full.

He keeps detailed accounts of all the restaurants he eats at in his quest to become the first person to eat at all 100 of the world’s top restaurants and the one restaurant that has eluded him thus far is Sushi Saito, an 8-seat members-only sushi restaurant in Tokyo. Most of the restaurants on the World’s Top 100 Restaurants list are overly accommodating in his quest to become the first person to eat at all of them. Some restaurants have stayed open late to get him in or have sat him alone in the middle of a sold-out dining room, but not Sushi Saito.

According to the feature in WSJ, he’s reached out to all of his work contacts at Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co., Deloitte and others to try and find a member who could get him in but that search proved to be fruitless. Sushi Saito only answers their telephone on the first day of every month and they don’t have a website or a listed email address for the restaurant.

So what’s a guy to do? It’s the LAST restaurant on the list of 100 and he needs to eat there in order to achieve his goal. Here’s what he did:

In April, Mr. Grinberg paid ¥62,000, about $550, for help from a restaurant concierge service specializing in hard-to-get reservations in Tokyo. Then he checked obsessively for a response. “I dreaded clicking the button on my computer and seeing a rejection,” he said.
Finally, the email arrived. “Hi Paul Grinberg! Your membership has been rejected due to the following reason: Your profile picture does not fit our requirement, please kindly upload a photo that shows your own face (facing front),” the concierge service said, his wish blocked on a technicality.
Mr. Grinberg caught a break a few days later. The restaurant concierge service secured him a seat at Sushi Saito for Saturday, July 14. (via WSJ)

Sounds like a happy ending, right? WRONG. On Saturday, July 14th while Paul Grinberg was supposed to bein Tokyo eating at Restaurant #100 he was stuck in Taipei because of Supertyphoon Maria. He told WSJ “Sadly, I’m still at 99”.

Ain’t that some shit? The man has spent countless hours and an unimaginable fortune in his quest to eat all the world’s top 100 restaurants and then he gets cockblocked by a supertyphoon after he jumped through fiery hoops to get the private reservation.

Hopefully, the restaurant will be accommodating and give him a reservation in the future but from where I’m standing it looks like this restaurant’s getting a lot of free press by not giving him the reservation. The longer they hold out the more people will be talking about how hard of a reservation it is to land, and this guy’s quest. Why give in now?

By the way, you can see a complete list of the World’s Top 100 Restaurants by following that link!

(h/t Wall Street Journal)

TAGS50 Best RestaurantsFoodTravelWorld's Best RestaurantsWorld's Top 100 RestaurantsWorld's Top 50 Restaurants