March 16, 2012 at 1:55 PM ET
When you think Costco, you think industrial-sized tubs of condiments and 40-roll packs of toilet paper—certainly not fancy appetizers and entrees. But when Town & Country magazine invited David Monn, one of New York City’s most famous event planners, to shop for a fancy cocktail party at Costco, he jumped at the chance.
Evidently, Costco is the secret ingredient for many high-end chefs and party planners. He tells the magazine, “I have bought Kobe beef pigs in a blanket for $55 from fancier places, and I swear the ones from Costco taste better. And the Kirkland lamb chops are a real secret among serious chefs. You know they sell more Dom Pérignon [at Costco] than anywhere else in the country?”
This luxurious menu, from Town & Country's April issue, is straight out of the aisles of Costco, dressed up with Monn’s impeccable styling, of course. To make those chef-approved lamb chops look even more delectable, he coated them with a mixture of olive oil, shelled pistachios, salt and pepper, then broiled them for seven minutes. Serving them as finger food is extra chic.
Also on the menu: brie and apple on bruschetta with caramelized walnuts, a shrimp cocktail made from prepared shrimp marinated in lime and cilantro then garnished with avocado and carrot zest. Smoked salmon slices filled with scallion cream cheese is another simple yet luxe, appetizer. Wrapping the rolls with a single chive is a pretty—and edible—way to add a garnish. My favorite idea of the bunch is the adorable corn muffins: Monn topped pre-made muffins with Kirkland brand pulled pork and a dollop of jalapeno jelly.
Most amazing of all, the entire menu feeds 20 people and only cost $208.07, about $10 per person. (Compared to the $5,000 antique silver tray on which the food was photographed.) How’s that for a party trick?
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.