When you’ve got a power lunch on your schedule, you want to pick the right spot. It’s got to have amazing food and it should probably offer a good selection of drinks to suit your clients’ tastes. The seating should be comfortable, the ambiance should be welcoming, and the service should be impeccable, with a wait staff that knows when to bring your food, when to clear away plates, and when to leave you alone so the decision making can happen. Where should you go when a greasy spoon won’t cut it, a bagel shop is too casual, and any slice joint worth its salt will be jam-packed with cranky tourists come lunch time?
Check out one of these five power lunch restaurants in New York City.
The expectations are high at the 21 Club, one of New York’s most revered and well known restaurants, but the kitchen delivers with impeccable renditions of the classics: steaks, fish, chicken, and more prepared with the utmost care. For lunch, the restaurant’s Bar Room is where you’ll find yourself (the upstairs is dinner only), but there’s no compromise on quality. Diners can choose from a prix-fixe menu if there’s more important matters to discuss than what to order, or an extensive a la carte selection. For a showy finish, there are several flambé choices on the dessert menu to wow your clients. Cocktails are creative and stiff, or there’s beer and wine if that’s your preference. The cost is a bit on the high side, but the ambiance is priceless. Jackets are required, jeans are verboten.
If you’re in the financial district, you’re having lunch with clients, and you want a great, traditional, expertly prepared steak, then you go to Delmonico’s. The latest iteration of the big name restaurant that’s been around since 1837, the rich and formal interior is the perfect spot to show associates that you have great taste and a gracious spirit. The menu does include some fish and chicken selections, but the dry and wet aged steaks are the true standouts. Yes, it’s expensive, at roughly $50 per steak and somewhat less for other dishes, but for Wall Street high rollers, it’s often a drop in the bucket. Order a dry martini, tuck your napkin on your lap, and talk shop as your steaks are being cooked to order.
Grand Central Oyster Bar
As the name implies, The Grand Central Oyster Bar is right in the middle of Grand Central Terminal; you can dine with your associates as you keep a lazy eye on the comings and goings of business men and women, tourists, and day trippers in this beautiful Beaux Arts building. Also as the name implies, oysters are a big feature: there are bivalves from literally all over the world. Steaks are nowhere to be found, but you can choose from a huge variety of seafood and shellfish, smoked fish, live lobsters prepared to order and an impressive raw selection to metaphorically show your associates that you don’t go in for under cooked business. Daily specials mean you never have to have the same plate twice. To go with your pescatarian delights, there are glorious house made desserts, over a dozen craft brews on tap, and a packed wine list. (Pro tip: hit up the restaurant on Mondays to get half off any bottles of wine under $100.) Prices for appetizers and entrees are comparable with other NY seafood restaurants; expect to pay at least $25 per large plate, but also expect to wow your clients with some of the freshest seafood in the city.
For power lunchers who prefer something lighter and a touch more exotic, a Japanese restaurant like Nobu 57 is perfect. The 57 refers to the restaurant’s address (it’s on 57th between Fifth and Sixth), but the Nobu name (as in, head chef Nobu Matsuhisa) is synonymous with gorgeous sushi and fresh Japanese dishes. Cold and hot plates from the kitchen are available, but the real stars at Nobu 57 are the creations from the sushi bar. Order a large platter of rolls, nigiri, and sashimi for the whole table, or, if you’re with just one or two associates, sit at the bar for a tongue-melting omakase experience. Wine and sake are available, and costs are remarkably reasonable for top quality sushi and high-end Japanese in New York City
For a midtown power lunch that will impress the most finicky of gourmands, it’s nearly impossible to top Jean-Georges in the Trump Tower on Central Park West. Head chef and namesake Jean-Georges Vongerichten has earned an astonishing three Michelin stars and four stars from The New York Times for his French-inspired seasonal cuisine. The prix-fixe menu arrangement puts your meal in the hands of the highly capable chef and his kitchen, allowing you to skip the formality of perusing the menu and ordering, leaving you more time to converse with clients. The dining room is surrounded by the beauty of the park, and it’s the perfect spot to conduct business while sampling some of the best dishes in all of Manhattan. Do note that business casual isn’t acceptable in Jean-Georges, however; casual wear is not permitted, and jackets are required.