Bill Clinton, the Ultimate Restaurant Reviewer

By Ben Leventhal
|  Wednesday, Dec 29, 2010  |  Updated 10:28 AM CDT
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Bill Clinton, the Ultimate Restaurant Reviewer

Jai Prakash Singh, Picasa

President Clinton poses with the staff after eating at at Bukhara Restaurant.

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Around the world, nothing spikes restaurant sales like a visit from Bill Clinton.  A presidential dinner at Bukhara in New Delhi in 2000 put the restaurant on the map and now offers a Bill Clinton platter of meats that goes for $110 and "the Clinton table," which is still booked most nights.  The former president stopped at an obscure hot dog stand in Reykjavic, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, in 2004 and two years later it found its way onto a Guardian list of the five best food stalls in Europe.  Gugelhof, a Berlin restaurant, hosted Clinton and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2000.  More than a decade later, "We had 25 people from Sweden in here last night,” said Detlef Obermuller, who owns the restaurant.  More from the New York Times:

Not that Mr. Obermuller has forgotten any of the details. He and his staff were given a mere 20-minute heads-up by German security before Mr. Clinton and company arrived. News of the dinner then spread quickly on radio and television, and by the time dessert was served, a crowd of 2,000 had gathered on the sidewalk to greet the man who had declared “Berlin is free!” in a 1994 speech before the Brandenburg Gate.

As Mr. Clinton left, a scrum of journalists swarmed into Gugelhof, scrounging up quotes and details for articles. Amid the chaos, all the cutlery, plates and glasses on Mr. Clinton’s table disappeared. One of the cheekier reporters took the dinner check. (It included Mr. Clinton’s order of choucroute, an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut, beef, pork and potatoes.) The next day, a German newspaper ran an image of the check on its front page.

Other Clinton haunts include Casa Lucio in Madrid, where he dined with the King of Spain; Le Pont De La Tour in London; Il Mulino and the Spotted Pig in New York; and George Brown's in Washginton. 

So, how does the world's most powerful eater pick where to dine?  He doesn't.  Usually a staffer from his advance team makes the choice, often consulting with a local concierge; or a local dignitary decides.  One top Clintonian restaurant picking criteria is not food but convenience.  Bukhara, the New Delhi spot with the presidential stamp, happens to be on the ground floor of the ITC Maurya Hotel, where Clinton often stays.

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