It was around the time of The Blueprint 2, with its sundry shoutouts to old-money status markers like Salvatore Ferragamo and the Robb Report, that Jay-Z began positioning himself not just as a rich rapper, but a rich American, period. The transition from the block to the boardroom generated its share of awkward growing pains—let’s forget about those crisp button-ups, shall we?—but Mr. Carter stuck to his guns. Now, he’s right where he wanted to be, palling around with Warren Buffett and texting President Obama like it’s nothing.
But Jay is savvy enough to know that being a rich dude is great, but being a rich dude with taste is something special. As such, one key to his ascendance as a cultural titan has been the evolution of his dining habits.
Where you eat says it all these days, and he and wifey Beyoncé clearly aren’t satisfied with old hip-hop staples like Philippe and Mr. Chow’s. Sometimes they want to flex their fiscal muscles in power-broker rooms like Nello, and sometimes they want to demonstrate their first-adopter swag by popping into trending hot spots like Tertulia and Parm. In all cases, the choices are carefully curated.
To help parse the mythology of hip-hop’s power couple, First We Feast compiled Hov and B’s culinary hit list—culled from song references, food-world reports, papparazzi snaps, and more—and presented it to NYC food-writing veteran Jordana Rothman for a proper gastronomic audit.
So what does she make of Jay’s taste?
“I think the man favors a scene, and sometimes—in the case of, say, Torrisi Italian Specialties—that happens to align with a truly good restaurant. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t appreciate a good meal.”
For more insight into the hallowed dining rooms where Jay-Z and Beyoncé break bread, click through the slideshow.
Written by Jordana Rothman (@jordanarothman)