The villainous reality TV star and real estate agent has a taste for luxury.
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Christine Quinn dipped a mother-of-pearl spoon into the bowl resting in its ice bath. Spreading caviar across a blini, she lifted the bite to her rose gold lips.
“That tastes rich,” she said. “This is giving me rich vibes. This is the classiest breakfast I have ever had in my life.”
This was on a rainy Saturday afternoon, the day after Ms. Quinn, 33, a star of the Netflix docusoap “Selling Sunset” and a woman The Sunday Times of London has described as “TV’s greatest villain,” had just flown in from Paris. She was promoting her first book, “How to Be a Boss B*tch,” which combines memoir with self-help, advising women how to pull themselves up by their high-heeled bootstraps, just as Ms. Quinn has done.
The tour would soon take her to Dallas, Los Angeles, back to New York City and home to Los Angeles again.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” she said, which likely explained why she had scheduled breakfast for 3 p.m. “I don’t know what city I’m in, what state, what time zone. No clue.”
During her stay in New York, she planned to appear on “Good Morning America,” the “Tamron Hall Show” and most thrillingly, “Watch What Happens Live.” Had she decided what to wear yet? She had not.
“But I will be giving the gays everything they deserve,” she said, setting down a purse printed with an image of the Mona Lisa. “That’s the reason I live and breathe.”
That afternoon, she had arrived at Caviar Russe, a Michelin-starred midtown restaurant, in a slinky spin on corporate attire — stilettos, Balenciaga sunglasses, a pinstripe suit and a collared white shirt that bared a strip of pale midriff. Her nails, long and neon yellow, glowed like spiky Post-its.
She first tasted caviar at 21, while out to dinner with a boyfriend. “Sure, call him a sugar daddy,” she said. “He was. But we had amazing chemistry.” She had her first filet mignon that night, her first glass of real Champagne. “It just opened my eyes up to this whole world, which I had never seen before and didn’t even know existed,” she said.
She has tasted plenty of caviar since. Seated upstairs at Caviar Russe, on a gray banquette with a Murano chandelier tinkling above her, Ms. Quinn sipped a glass of Red Bull — a ward against the jet lag — and sought advice from her server, John Gergeos. He suggested the Prestige tasting, a $695, 75-gram selection of platinum osetra, gold osetra and classic osetra with traditional accompaniments.
“A little Champagne?” he asked.
She consented, asking for Krug. But Mr. Gergeos didn’t have it by the glass, so they compromised on vintage Dom Pérignon ($75 per glass).
“I don’t drink, I just sip,” she said.
Opening the champagne, Mr. Gergeos dropped the cork — Ms. Quinn has that effect on men — then poured the drink into a chilled glass.
Ms. Quinn lifted her spoon and dove in, beginning with the platinum. “Mmmm,” she said. “This one’s very light, buttery, airy, creamy, very subtle.”
She tried the gold next, adding it to a blini. “This one has saltier notes,” she said. “It’s still on the lighter side, but has more of like a pop of salt, which I like because I love salt.”
And finally she turned to the classic, which she ate on a crepe with crème fraîche. “This one has flavors of the sea,” she said.
Somehow the glass of Champagne had been drained. Politely, Ms. Quinn summoned the server. “John, there seems to be a little hole in the Champagne glass,” she said. “I would like to have another one.”
Over five seasons of “Selling Sunset,” a cage match of a reality show set among high-end real estate agents in Los Angeles, Ms. Quinn has carefully cultivated an image of ruthlessness and wasp-waisted drive, raising the eye roll to an art form. When she realized that the producers had given her the villain role, she didn’t fight it.
“I feel like I was the only one that understood the assignment,” she said. “I was the only one that said, ‘Hey, this is a show, and I’m going to give the world a show.’”
Still, she bristled when she learned that “Selling Sunset,” which details the exploits of the real estate agents of the Oppenheim Group, had been nominated for an MTV award for unscripted series. (She also earned a nod for best fight.)
According to Ms. Quinn, the show is avidly scripted. “No doubt about that,” she said.
In the final episodes of the fifth series, she left the Oppenheim Group to open her own firm, RealOpen, which facilitates home sales for buyers and sellers who prefer to deal in cryptocurrency. She does not know if she will return for a sixth season, particularly if it continues to promote the Oppenheim Group.
“Hulu, give me a call,” she said, jokingly.
Ms. Quinn asked for the bill. In the course of an hour she had eaten at least half of the 75 grams and requested to take the rest of it back to her hotel. She never wastes food, she said. When Mr. Gergeos brought the bill, which stretched toward $1,000, he also brought a cooler packed with blinis, crème fraîche and an extra 125 grams of caviar, a gift from the owners.
“They’re big fans,” he said.
“Stop it! So sweet!” Ms. Quinn said, accepting it graciously and posing for a few social media pictures.
Mr. Gergeos reminded her that the caviar was good for perhaps two weeks, maybe three.
Ms. Quinn, with her taste for luxury, told him not to worry. “That’ll be gone tonight,” she said.