NYC hospitality pro Randi Lee first developed his Bloody Mary recipe in 2007 and added it to the then newly-introduced brunch menu at Leland last year. It includes the expected staples like tomato juice, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, but has proprietary methods to make ingredients in house. “Keeping our recipe secret means that you can’t find it anywhere else and keeps it special,” reps say. “A famous NY restauranteur tried to buy the recipe from Randi for $5,000 and he declined the offer to keep it a secret.” A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, drenched in vodka, indeed.
Does food taste better, are drinks more intoxicating, is the air simply sweeter if something about it is a little secret? There’s a reason why speakeasy-inspired bars are so popular even though alcohol is legal and why entry-level adventure seekers are thrilled by restaurants with absent apparent addresses.
At a time when so much of the world’s information is available via pocket-sized devices, it can be exciting to discover something that seems a little less known. Not surprisingly, closely-guarded recipes, ingredients, techniques and preparations are a treasured part of NYC’s dining scene. (Some of them are so famous we can hardly believe they’re still trying to hide ‘em.) Here are a few such secrets you can try to suss out right now.