There’s nothing routine about these place settings
Deal-making over a meal is rarely effortless but forever timeless. Our roundup of some of the nation’s coolest hot spots for power dining has something for every taste and temperament.
You might say Ford Fry’s lovingly appointed, ultra-chic St. Cecilia offers diners the pinnacle of coastal European cuisine. It is, after all, on the ground floor of Buckhead’s skyline-defining Pinnacle Building, the neighborhood’s curvaceously canopied gem. A blend of industrial and farmhouse style is the ideal setting for pasta and seafood lovers negotiating over fresh crudo, seasonal fish dishes, and a rotating handmade pasta menu that includes gnudi (gnocchi’s lighter, more pillowy cousin) with house ricotta and brown butter. Fear not, meat lovers: St. Cecilia offers a fine selection of beef, chicken, and pork dishes as well.
Overlooking Boston’s cherished Public Gardens at the junction of Back Bay and the theater district, The Bristol coaxes Beantown’s power elite with classic style and cachet. Chef Jessica Biederman’s fresh approach to the lobster roll is the ultimate New England bite. Seafood takes center stage on the well-rounded menu, from scallops drawn from George’s Bank to mussels drifting in bacon lardons, roasted garlic, and fines herbes. Nestled in the Four Seasons Hotel, The Bristol offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Strike culinary gold at Michelin Star-awarded Chef Bruno Davaillon’s Bullion, a fresh take on a French brasserie. The tres luxe environment designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio merges the fine dining experience with joie de vivre. Custom art and sculpture treat the senses, as do vegetables grown in the vertical hydroponic farm in the chef’s catering kitchen. Classics reimagined with a light touch include canard à l’orange, filet de boeuf au poivre, and gnocchi à la Parisienne with nutmeg cream, gruyère, and jambon de Paris. Scheduling a power meal on Wednesday? Pithiviers de faisan, a dazzling twist on the humble meat pie, will put pheasant and black truffle in your ventre as if you’re lunching on the Champs-Élysées, y’all.
Root Down is a labor of love: love of people, food, and the planet. Leaders who love putting their money where their consciences are will find plentiful seats at the table: 75% of Root Down was built and finished with reclaimed, reused, and recycled materials; wind power generates its electricity; the animal proteins served are certified humane, pasture-raised, and are fed non-GMO vegetarian diets; The Monterey Bay Seafood Watch named their seafood “Best Choice Green” offerings, all of which are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and 20% of their ingredients are grown on a 6,000-sq ft organic farm owned by their restaurant group, Edible Bites. This real down-to-earth deal has something for every dietary desire, like the luxurious Longs Peak lamb porterhouse served with butter bean succotash, pickled rhubarb, crispy shallots, mint pea purée, and cherry coffee demi-glace. Wash it down with a Gold Dust Woman (made from Hangar 1 mandarin blossom vodka, pisco, lavender honey, and lemon) but beware — it just might tempt you to put your kingdom up for sale.
Lavish yet welcoming, Leila brings craveable Lebanese delicacies to the Motor City’s power dining scene. Co-owner Sammy Eid’s inspiration comes from his beloved mother, for whom the eatery is named. “Leila is an homage to her and to the heritage and traditions she holds so close to her heart. With a menu rooted in the savory yet simple flavors that define Lebanese cuisine, and an experience that evokes the simple pleasure of great food enjoyed in good company, Leila sits at the crossroads of sophisticated style and old-world hospitality my mom embodies,” he writes. A great selection of hot and cold appetizers is balanced by classic entrees that include grilled quail with pomegranate molasses, kafta or shish kebab, and of course, Leila’s own spaghetti bolognese with pine nuts and basil. Ladhidh!
“You don’t write for the whole world, and you don’t write for 10 people, or two. You write for just one person.” Change “write” to “cook” in this quote from native son Kurt Vonnegut, and therein lies the spirit of Bluebeard, named after one of his best works. Located in the city’s revered Holy Rosary district, Bluebeard’s adventuresome offerings are guided with care and a deep sense of community connection by multiple James Beard Award nominee Chef Abbi Merriss, who builds a distinctly American menu from locally and regionally sourced ingredients. From hand-shaped, homemade bread from sister enterprise Amelia’s Bakery, to satisfying chops, steaks, fish, and fowl, Bluebeard is a can’t miss experience.
Consistently lauded and applauded by the New York Times, Bon Appétit, and the Times-Picayune, Cochon is one of NOLA’s best places to show off some managerial muscle. Chef Donald Link brings rustic sensibility to a satisfying spread of Cajun and Southern dishes that spotlight locally sourced pork and custom-grown produce foraged from area farms. There’s no pretentiousness about this Warehouse District staple; the star is straightforward home cooking. And pork — from ham hocks, belly confit, and Louisiana cochon with cabbage, cracklins, and pickled peaches to rich boudin and port-braised cheeks. Other down home dishes include rabbit and dumplings, catfish court boullion, and wahoo with charred broccoli dressed with pecan vinaigrette. Laissez le bon cochon rouler.
When in the City of Brotherly Love, the business bunch doubles down on Double Knot. A day-to-night concept lures diners to two floors: upstairs, where coffee and cocktails are served, and to the downstairs sushi bar and robatayaki barbecue. Start the day with coffee by local fave Elixr, then grab an early banh mi from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Workday stretching to evening? Revive with crispy tempura cheese curds followed by robatayaki hangar steak with pickled daikon, yuzu, and yakinuku sauce, or with broiled unagi donburi with pickled myobi, avocado, and wasabi. There’s no better way to close the day or the deal than with a jungle bird slip cocktail: a clever mélange of Reposado tequila, strawberry cordial, Campari, lime, and mezcal.
ST. LOUISDon’t go into the basement — unless you’re brokering business over a sumptuous Italian feast at Basso, the Gateway City’s underground jewel. Rustic, leather-lined, and cozy, Basso features an open kitchen, wood fired pizza grills, abundant wine racks, and seating that balances intimate booths for up close and personal conversations with communal tables that are great for groups. Both oenophiles and casual wine drinkers will find pleasing vintages on the plentiful Italian wine list, built to compliment a menu centered on traditional antipasti, pizza, and pasta.
SEATTLENo collection of “powerful” restaurant experiences would be complete without a bow to the inimitable Elliott’s Oyster House on the city’s historic Pier 56. Breathtaking Puget Sound views and its prized position as America’s top oyster house (as voted by Food and Wine) have made Elliott’s a destination designed to impress. The bounteous seafood is Fresh Catch compliant, and includes seasonal dungeness, bairdi and king crab, cioppino, sockeye salmon and Pacific oysters. Reading the oyster list is pleasant work in itself, with selections from Hood Canal, North and South Puget Sound, Netarts Bay … you get the idea. There’s also plenty to satisfy the fish-resistant in your party, such as pan-roasted chicken with polenta and the enduring New York strip.