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The Top Power Lunch Restaurants

Where’s the best place to talk business and eat well at the same time? Here are 10 of the finest new business lunch spots in the country

The Lambs Club NY


The Lambs Club sees its share of celebrities: Cindy Crawford and Bono were there in recent weeks. But the restaurant really isn’t about rubbernecking; it’s more a comfortable, old-world spot. Housed in the Chatwal Hotel’s Stanford White-designed landmark building, The Lambs Club is an escape from chaotic 44th Street and nearby Times Square. And the modern American menu from chef Geoffrey Zakarian—creator of well-regarded restaurants Patroon and Town—ranges expansively from cod en papillote to crispy duck confit salad to a turkey club with avocado and sprouts.

Address: 132 West 44th Street
The Classics: Le Bernardin, Michael’s, The Four Seasons
Cost: $16 to $28 for entrees
Contact: 212.997.5262 | thelambsclub.com

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air, LA


Hotel Bel-Air reopened last year after a $100 million renovation, and its new restaurant, created by Wolfgang Puck, has been generating buzz. Its power lunch crowd includes old guard stalwarts like Nancy Reagan and Larry King, but younger producers, directors, agents, A-list actors and media types are also frequently seen in one of the three dining areas: the main room, the Spanish courtyard-style terrace and—for those rare Hollywood occasions when you actually don’t want to be seen—the private dining room. Puck has overextended himself in recent years, but he’s showing a return to form here, using local farmer’s markets to source his California-meets-Mediterranean menu.

Address: 701 Stone Canyon Road
The Classics: Craft Los Angeles, Spago Beverly Hills, The Grill on the Alley (Beverly Hills)
Cost: $16 to $52 for entrees
Contact: 310.909.1644 | hotelbelair.com | wolfgang-puck-bel-air

Chicago Cut Steakhouse, Chicago


There’s no shortage of steak joints in the Windy City, but Chicago’s latest power lunch spot has found a way to refresh the formula: Chicago Cut Steakhouse has its own dry-aging room and onsite butcher. For those not interested in beef—there must be a few of you in Chicago—Chicago Cut also features a thoughtful menu of salads and seafood. The sides, from freshly shucked corn to shiitake and crimini mushrooms, transcend the typical creamed spinach. And the wine list comes on an iPad, which actually makes it easier to read. Chicago Cut attracts everyone from Bears to business leaders, as well as the likes of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Oprah Winfrey.

Address: 300 North LaSalle Street
The Classic: Morton’s (Wacker Place)
Cost: $12 to $48 for entrees
Contact: 312.329.1800 | chicagocutsteakhouse.com

Yardbird Southern table and bar, Miami Beach, FL


Top Chef contender Jeff McInnis has brought Southern cuisine to a Southern state where you’ll more typically find straightforward seafood or Latin-influenced fare. His fried chicken—which takes 27 hours to get from house brine to table—fried green tomato BLT, shrimp po’ boy and other updated Southern classics are lauded by the eclectic group of diners crowding Yardbird for lunch: Brazilian expats, players for the Miami Heat, South Beach models and their agents. The menu includes both traditional— smoked pulled pork—and fusion, like the “Southern edamame”: steamed peas with Atlantic sea salt and spicy chili butter.

Address: 1600 Lenox Avenue
The Classic: The Capital Grille
Cost: $13 to $16 for entrees
Contact: 305.538.5220 | runchickenrun.com

The Dandelion, Philadelphia


The Dandelion is one of those places—cozy, casual, excellent— that we’d love to keep to ourselves, but reluctantly won’t. Chef Robert Aikens, a native of Norwich, England, has brought Britain’s gastropub tradition to a city with as deep connections to England as any in America. Located a few blocks from Market Street, home to many of Philly’s largest firms, The Dandelion has fast become a meeting place for executives, lawyers, politicos and others drawn to its nuanced menu, featuring everything from lamb shepherd’s pie to chicken and duck liver parfait.

Address: 124 South 18th Street
The Classics: Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, Le Bec-Fin, Rouge
Cost: $11 to $24 for entrees
Contact: 215.558.2500 | thedandelionpub.com

Cotogna, San Francisco


Leave it to San Francisco to pick a true gastronomic temple as the hot new power lunch spot. Opened as a sister restaurant to the popular fine-dining Quince (which doesn’t offer lunch), Cotogna is anything but casual when it comes to the food. Chef Michael Tusk is celebrated by the city’s business types (Cotogna is located in Jackson Square, near the city’s financial district) and social media entrepreneurs for his house-made pastas, grilled meats and pizzas including cardoons, fresh ricotta and wild nettles, and farm egg, lardo and red onion.

Address: 490 Pacific Avenue
The Classics: Michael Mina, Tamarine (Palo Alto)
Cost: $12 to $28 for entrees
Contact: 415.775.8508 | cotognasf.com

PJ-Clarke's, DC


Just down the road from the White House on Washington’s lobbyists’ row, P.J. Clarke’s has become the go-to lunch spot for politicians, lawyers and, yes, lobbyists. (Good luck telling them apart.) An offshoot of the storied 128-year-old New York saloon, this P.J. Clarke’s has a secluded downstairs dining room for those looking for more privacy (Peter Cherukuri of The Huffington Post holds court there about four times a week). The fare includes steaks, salads, seafood and pub favorites such as shepherd’s pie, lobster rolls and Maryland crab cakes.

Address: 1600 K Street NW
The Classics: The Monocle, The Oval Room, The Palm
Cost: $15 to $41 for entrees
Contact: 202.463.6610 | pjclarkes.com | DC


Chef David Grossman, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, is cooking ambitious versions of Texas classics at Branch Water Tavern. Bacon-wrapped Gulf shrimp with grits, roasted venison medallions and crispy-skin Texas redfish are some of the favorites of the oil company executives and lawyers who frequent the spot, located near downtown. An extensive lineup of craft beers and American whiskeys are available for those celebrating a deal.

Address: 510 Shepherd Drive
The Classics: Brennan’s, Mark’s American Cuisine, Tony’s
Cost: $12 to $28 for entrees
Contact: 713.863.7777 | branchwatertavern.com

Estiatorio Milos, Las-Vegas


Restaurateur Costas Spiliadis has made big successes of his Greek eateries in Montreal, New York and Athens. Now he’s bringing his impeccably prepared seafood and traditional Greek favorites to Vegas, where his restaurant is located in The Cosmopolitan hotel. The lunch crowd consists of local power players as well as businesspeople in town for conferences and trade shows.

Address: 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
The Classic: McCormick & Schmick’s
Cost: $20.12 prix fixe menu; à la carte entrees start at $40
Contact: 877.893.2003 | cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

Wit and Wisdom, Baltimore


Like many of noted chef Michael Mina’s restaurants, Wit & Wisdom uses local ingredients to focus on the area’s culinary heritage, which may be why it calls itself a “modern American tavern.” Located in the recently opened Four Seasons, the restaurant overlooks Baltimore’s harbor, and attracts plenty of visiting businesspeople. But resident entrepreneurs and lawyers are also coming in for the crab cake sandwich, beer-battered bass sandwich and rotisserie rib eye.

Address: 200 International Drive
The Classic: The Center Club (private)
Cost: $20.12 prix fixe menu; à la carte entrees start at $40
Contact: 410.576.5800 | witandwisdombaltimore.com

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