"IT STARTED OUT as a joke," says chef Kevin O'Connell of the $175 burger he serves at New York's Wall Street Burger Shoppe, a retro diner better known for $5 sandwiches than gourmet offerings. Created purely in an attempt to one-up the $150 double-truffle patty served at Daniel Boulud's db Bistro Moderne, O'Connell's burger—the Richard Nouveau—boasts 10 ounces of Kobe beef, foie gras, exotic mushrooms, cave-aged Gruyère, and fresh truffles packed in a brioche bun. O'Connell added one more exorbitant topping: gold. "It needed an extra kick," he says of the decision to mix gold flakes with his truffle mayonnaise. Additional gold is sprinkled atop the burger, serving up a total 750 milligrams of the precious metal with each of the two Richard Nouveaus ordered a week. Here's to deep pockets—and full stomachs. burgershoppenyc.com
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A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.