Matt Zolbe, director of marketing for the Waldorf, said the meal reflects the service that his hotel can provide. Many places can lay claim to having hosted presidents, but Zolbe said the Waldorf really sees itself as an extension of the White House.
The hotel offers a private driveway for heads of state and will turn over security and the ability to hold elevators to the presidential entourage.
During the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, the hotel had 24 different heads of state staying there. Even with that crowd, each had to be made to feel special.
"You're talking about people who are used to being top banana," Zolbe said.
By the way, the presidential suite rents for $7,000 to $10,000 a night. If you are shelling out that much cash for a hotel room, $500 for dinner doesn't seem that outrageous.
The meal though is not meant for every guest. Zolbe said the hotel is selling an experience to those who can "afford to do anything they want."
"It's unlikely to be an expense enjoyed by the masses," he said. "I don't think we'll be selling four of these a night."
The Presidential Tasting Menu begins with a favorite of President Clinton: Seared Scallop with Osetra Caviar and Potato-Chive Mousseline, which was served at a Heads of State Dinner in September 2000. The second course, Poached Turbot with Caviar-Champagne Sauce, was prepared for President Reagan at a Heads of State Dinner for the United Nations' 40th Anniversary in 1985.
When President George H.W. Bush entertained Prime Minister John Major in 1992, they had Roast Rack of Lamb with Saffron Potatoes, Candied Eggplant and Pickled Onion for their main course. Chocolate Extravaganza, a preferred dessert of George W. Bush, completes the menu.