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Eleven Madison Park

New York, New York

11 Madison Avenue,

{212} 889-0905, elevenmadisonpark.com

 

This fine-dining establishment, part of Danny Meyer’s esteemed culinary stable, has garnered four stars from the New York Times under its young Swiss chef, Daniel Humm. This past fall, Humm shook things up when he introduced a radical new tasting menu: a pared-down grid with only 16 ingredients; diners choose one from each row. For example, the entrée line might read simply: guinea fowl, pork, squab or beef. According to the general manager, the menu is meant to “encourage dialogue.” So far, it hasn’t scared away customers, many of whom are from the finance world (the restaurant is in the same building as Credit Suisse) and are delighted to have Chef Humm surprise them—though diners do have the freedom to tweak most of the offerings.

 

 

 

 

Bibiana

Washington, D.C.

1100 New York Avenue,

(202) 216-9550, bibianadc.com

 

From D.C. restaurateur Ashok Bajaj (Rasika, Bombay Club) comes Bibiana, an elegant yet casual Italian place with black-and-white photos of classic Italian landmarks, leather accents and lighting fixtures from Milan. A stainless-steel beaded curtain creates a semi-private dining area (there’s also a large private room), which appeals to a clientele that includes lawyers, lobbyists and senatorial staffers. Start with chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s antipasti, followed by tagliatelle with a Bolognese ragù and entrées like whole roasted branzino. The wine list boasts more than 400 bottles, including plenty of prosecco—the ideal libation for a toast to celebrate a new partnership or sealing the deal.

 

 

 

 

WP24

Los Angeles, California

900 West Olympic Boulevard,

(213) 743-8824, wolfgangpuck.com

 

On the 24th floor of the new Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles, in an entertainment district known as L.A. Live, sits the latest restaurant from celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck. As diners take in sweeping city views from the oversize windows, they can order from a three-, four- or seven-course Asian-influenced menu. Signature dishes include chive dumplings, whole sea bass baked in a salt crust, Singapore-style softshell crabs and Peking duck. There’s a private dining room for 28, and the more intimate Wine Room holds 10. The hotel, with more than 100,000 square feet of event space, is just a few blocks from the L.A. Convention Center, so it attracts a steady flow of business travelers.

 

 

 

 

Epic

Chicago, Illinois

112 West Hubbard Street,

(312) 22-4940, epicrestaurantchicago.com

 

This three-level, industrial-chic restaurant in the River North neighborhood attracts plenty of corporate types from downtown and nearby Michigan Avenue for lunch, dinner and after-work drinks in the lounge. The beautifully designed space features salvaged wood, exposed brick with a dramatic glass-and-steel staircase, and plenty of private dining rooms. Executive chef Stephen Wamback, formerly of Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Group, serves French-accented modern American dishes, such as spiced lamb shank, Berkshire pork chop with morel jus and seven pepper–crusted hangar steak. Be sure to save room for dessert: The pastry chef is Stacie Kruse, formerly of L’Etoile in Madison and Carnival in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Brennan’s of Houston

Houston, Texas

3300 Smith Street,

(713) 522-9711, brennanshouston.com

 

This venerable Houston restaurant, which reopened early in February 2010 after a devastating fire due to Hurricane Ike, has been completely renovated and once again takes pride of place in the city’s culinary scene. Owned by the Brennan family since 1967 (its sister property is New Orleans’ Commander’s Palace), this lovely restaurant is one of the last in town to require a jacket in the dining room. Both lunch and dinner attract a business-oriented crowd—everyone from oil execs to politicians to the crème de la crème of Houston society gather here to sample such dishes as turtle soup, blue crab–stuffed Texas flounder and bananas Foster. There are private function rooms for intimate gatherings, and larger parties can enjoy cocktails or a sit-down event for up to 150 people.

 

 

 

 

Asana

Boston, Massachusetts

776 Boylston Street,

617-535-8888, mandarinoriental.com

 

The Mandarin Oriental’s fine-dining restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Boylston Street, but there’s plenty to see in the dining room—the city’s power brokers congregate here. Chef Nathan Rich offers dishes made from seasonal, local ingredients, such as Georges Banks sea scallops and Siena Farms squash risotto.

 

 

 

 

Tastings

Indianapolis, Indiana

50 W. Washington Street,

(317) 713-5000, conradhotels1.hilton.com

 

Minutes from the city’s convention center, this elegant wine bar is on the ground floor of the Conrad Hotel. High-powered lunches routinely take place at its tables: Larry Bird, president of the Pacers, was spotted here recently. Choose from 100 wines by the glass from all over the world, and enjoy charcuterie and artisanal cheeses.

       

      ith the corporate climate in flux, all modes of wining and dining clients are on the table. Some occasions may lend themselves to a more casual meal, such as taking a client to a hip new burger joint or a loosen-the-tie trattoria, but there’s still a time and a place for an upscale dining experience—one where the ambience, service and cuisine come together with elegance and sophistication.

 

While curtailed expense accounts most likely dictate that this type of dining is not an everyday occurrence, it’s nice to know that when you need a refined restaurant for a special business meeting or a corporate function, you’ll have plenty of options. On your next trip, consider these high-end spots.

 

Le Gavroche

43 Upper Brook Street

London W1K 7QR

020 7408 0881, le-gavroche.co.uk

 

First we begin in London in the heart of Mayfair. Le Gavroche was the first UK restaurant to be awarded one, two and three Michelin stars. The chef de cuisine is Michel Roux Jr, who took over the reins from his father, Albert in 1991. The fact that Le Gavroche continues to maintain the highest of reputations amongst both diners and critics is testament to the excellence of the food being prepared by Michel.

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