The Top 10 Power Lunch Restaurants
01. THE CLOCKTOWER
Even the diners’ body language exudes power. Enter any of the three dining rooms at the Clocktower in the new Edition hotel and you’ll see men sitting with their knees wide apart and arms draped over the backs of their chairs, and women leaning in to talk like they’re telling tales of some imminent merger. Housed in the stately Metropolitan Life building on Madison Square Park, the Clocktower is packed at lunch with the Flatiron neighborhood’s media, public relations and technology executives, plus the occasional hedge fund mogul or celebrity. But this place isn’t just about being seen: The food, from Michelin-starred London chef Jason Atherton, is exquisite, from a half lobster with shaved fennel, mussels and apples appetizer to the gratis dessert: a box of treasures including house-made marshmallows and caramels.
Address: 5 Madison Ave.
The Classics: the Four Seasons, Le Bernardin, Michael’s
Cost: $17 to $33 for entrees; $39 for a three-course prix fixe
Contact: 212.413.4300 | http://theclocktowernyc.com/
02. STREETBIRD ROTISSERIE
The newest venture from acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson (Aquavit, Riingo) is literally and figuratively at the opposite end of New York from the Clocktower. Housed in Harlem—also the home of Samuelsson’s Red Rooster—Streetbird is an exuberant celebration of 1980s hip-hop culture that is drawing execs from uptown hospitals and the Studio Museum, elected officials, Columbia University administrators and entertainment figures. Decked out with graffiti, vintage signs and boom boxes whose headphones play interviews with city personalities, Streetbird is a tribute to New York. The menu, however, is inspired by street food from around the world. There are rotisserie birds, of course, but the chicken is served with everything from Jamaican jerk to Mexican mole sauce, and sides include pickled cucumbers and green papaya salad.
Address: 2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
The Classics: the Four Seasons, Le Bernardin, Michael’s
Cost: $9.50 to $14.50 for entrees
Contact: 212.206.2557 | http://thestreetbirdnyc.com
Forget California cuisine: L.A.’s hottest new lunch place is a steakhouse led by a chef, Travis Strickland, who hails from meat-minded Chicago. Lunch offers an 8-ounce prime filet, a 16-ounce bone-in prime filet and a 22-ounce bone-in rib eye. Or you could try the steak frites with bordelaise, maître d’butter and hand-cut fries. The spacious dining room and covered terrace with retractable roof are great for watching the agents with clients, producers and directors, entertainment lawyers and public relations spinmeisters who’ve been planting their tentpoles at Baltaire. And if you really can’t handle a heavy meal, there are other choices, from a grilled eggplant sandwich to a variety of salads.
Address: 11647 San Vicente Blvd.
The Classics: Craft Los Angeles, the Grill on the Alley, Spago Beverly Hills
Cost: $14 to $62 for sandwiches, entrees and steaks
Contact: 424.273.1660 | http://baltaire.com/
04. LURE + TILL
Despite its massive VC and tech presence, Palo Alto still feels like a college town that refuses to grow up: Lunch options lean toward falafel joints, sandwich shops and smoothie bars, and Silicon Valley’s cognoscenti have to travel to San Francisco if they want a true restaurant scene. But the Epiphany hotel’s Lure + Till, a farm-to-table spot headed by chef Patrick Kelly, is shifting the balance with its comfortable seating, entirely open on one side when weather permits (which is almost always), and food based on the bounty of local farmers, foragers and fishermen. Strawberries are at their juicy best? You’ll see them dried in the house-made granola, sprinkled fresh in salads and roasted with the freshest fish or meats. It’s the kind of cooking that can get creative—and deal making—juices flowing.
Address: 180 Hamilton Ave.
The Classics: Tamarine
Cost: about $12 to $24 for entrees and sandwiches (menu changes daily)
Contact: 650.666.3320 | http://lureandtill.com/
05. NICO OSTERIA
Nico Osteria’s executive chef Paul Kahan has serious chops: Previous restaurants include the lauded Chicago neighborhood spots the Publican, Avec and Blackbird. But with Nico Osteria, located in the Thompson hotel, Kahan enters the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast—and now the city’s business, political and cultural leaders have a lively new place to meet, eat and talk shop. The focus is Italian-inspired seafood, and beginning with the crudo lineup—oysters with Champagne vinegar, hamachi with gooseberry, celery leaf and hen of the woods mushrooms—you know you’re in good hands. The menu features wonderful salads and interesting sandwiches and burgers, but it’s the pasta that really beckons. From a simple spaghetti with tomatoes, Calabrian chile, garlic and basil to pappardelle stuffed with milk-braised pork, carrot and black truffle, this is complex food worthy of your most important lunch dates.
Address: 1015 N. Rush St.
The Classics: Gibsons, Morton’s (Wacker Place)
Cost: $13 to $48 for pasta and entrees; $25 for a three-course prix fixe
Contact: 312.994.7100 | http://nicoosteria.com/
Located close to the financial district, Townsman is a convenient address for a business lunch. The look of the place—sleek and sophisticated but with country bones, from the wooden beams to bright red Shaker-style chairs—nods to tradition while looking forward, a combination Boston often struggles to master. But the reason to go to Townsman is the food. Chef Matt Jennings serves a sophisticated New England menu that includes local shellfish, charcuterie and cheeses while also dipping into broader waters: the Bang Island mussels, for example, are prepared with chorizo verde and Thai curry, a “kubano” sandwich surprises with kimchi and a pasta dish is uplifted with almond puree and carrot top pesto. While helming his last restaurant, Farmstead, in Providence, R.I., Jennings was frequently nominated as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Northeast. His return to his hometown has been, well, powerful.
Address: 120 Kingston St.
The Classics: the Bristol Lounge
Cost: $18 to $24 for entrees
Contact: 617.993.0750 | http://townsmanboston.com/
You never know what you’ll get at Husk—the menu changes day to day—but you can be sure it’ll represent the best of the South. “If it doesn’t come from the South,” says chef Sean Brock, “it’s not coming through the door.” What does come through the door of the downtown restaurant, sister to the original Husk in Charleston, S.C., is a broad range of Nashville’s power players. From musicians and music industry executives to tech leaders and real estate developers, they come for Husk’s down-home atmosphere and authentic, inspired take on southern tastes. If you’re lucky, you might get Brock’s fried chicken with “secret spices,” cornmeal-crusted catfish with a sweet onion tartar sauce, country fried steak with black pepper gravy or deviled eggs with pickled okra and trout roe.
Address: 37 Rutledge St.
The Classics: Capital Grille, the Loveless Café, the Palm, the Silly Goose
Cost: around $11 to $15 for sandwiches and entrees (menu changes daily)
Contact: 615.256.6565 | http://husknashville.com/
It takes a lot for a new steakhouse to make its mark in Texas, but Knife has done exactly that. Chef John Tesar is featuring Texas-raised, grass-fed, all-natural beef, dry aged and prepared in cast iron pans and special broilers that create juicy servings with just the right amount of char. There are sandwiches, soups and salads, and Knife even offers a couple of pasta dishes and an impressive charcuterie selection. But it’s the steaks and burgers, as simple and elemental as a meal can be, that are attracting the lawyers, consultants, private equity players and entrepreneurs who have been crowding its doors.
Address: The Highland Dallas, 5300 E. Mockingbird Lane
The Classics: Sevy’s Grill, Capital Grille
Cost: $12 to $18 for sandwiches and burgers; $25 to $95 for steaks
Contact: 214.443.9339 | http://knifedallas.com/
09. STANTON & GREENE
Sometimes the best power lunch comes in a low-key setting—the participants don’t always want to attract attention. Don’t be fooled. One of the most popular new restaurants for everyone from congressional staffers to their bosses and the lobbyists who court them is the unassuming Stanton & Greene. The restaurant, which fills three floors of a 19th-century building close to Capitol Hill, offers a southern-influenced menu with sandwiches such as buttermilk fried chicken, blackened salmon and a shrimp po’ boy—though the Greene burger, which includes a bacon-infused beef patty, bacon aioli and crispy bacon pieces, is a favorite. A not- so-subtle wink at congressional pork? Second helpings, please.
Address: 319 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Classics: the Monocle, the Oval Room, the Palm
Cost: $9 to $25 for sandwiches, salads and main plates
Contact: 202.525.3325 | http://stantonandgreene.com/
10. CIPRIANI DOWNTWON MIAMI
Cipriani is an easy spot for the city’s financiers to visit. It’s located in the heart of Brickell, Miami’s financial district, but feels a world away from the office. The restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows provide views of the Miami River and downtown, while Murano chandeliers and striped terrazzo flooring nod to Cipriani’s Venetian cousin. With restaurants in New York, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Dubai and elsewhere, Cipriani has an international feel that fits Miami, but the menu is firmly guided by Italian tastes: There’s burrata and bresaola, carpaccio and chicken alla Ca’ d’Oro. And if the meeting’s a success, you can congratulate yourself with a bellini: Harry’s Bar, opened by Giuseppe Cipriani in Venice in 1931, is where the prosecco and peach juice cocktail was invented.
Address: 465 Brickell Ave.
The Classics: Prime One Twelve, Joe’s Stone Crab, Capital Grille
Cost: $25 to $63 for entrees
Contact: 786.329.4090 | http://cipriani.com/