Let's Redo Lunch: Food Critics Share Unconventional Picks for Business Meals

Joshua Targownik
The interior of Manuela restaurant in Los Angeles

Bored with the tried-and-true? Two top restaurant critics — the Los Angeles Times’ Jonathan Gold and Eater’s Ryan Sutton in New York — suggest some unconventional power spots. 


35 E. 21st St., 212-913-9659

Nearly three years ago, Mexico’s culinary ambassador to the world, Enrique Olvera, gave New York its most elegant, and most expensive, Mexican restaurant. The move here is to dine at this Flatiron establishment (right underneath Tumblr’s headquarters) during the day when the natural light floods the space, and when the room is quieter than at dinner.

Must-Have Dish: Egg sope, a disc of fried masa topped with queso fresco, refried black beans and chorizo. A pure expression of corn.

Indian Accent
123 W. 56th St., 212-842-8070

The Big Apple has a long, marvelous history of South Asian fine dining, but this New Delhi import, located in Midtown’s famed Le Parker Meridien Hotel, ranks near the top, with a stunning beverage program of nonalcoholic cocktails and wine pairings.

Must-Have Dish: Soy Keema, an impossibly delicious meat-free chili of sorts.

Hometown Bar-B-Que
454 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn; 347-294-4644

This Red Hook roadhouse boasts the city’s best barbecue. And what could be a more quintessential New York power lunch move than eating lamb belly banh mi leftovers on the Water Taxi while passing by the Statue of Liberty?

Must-Have Dish: Jamaican jerk baby back ribs, a wicked blend of sweet and heat.  



9960 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-405-0155

Where there is industry lunch, there must be the splashy new Italian restaurant in town. And while the old-school Italophiles are still getting their veal chops and taglioline limone at Madeo and Angelini Osteria, there is no new restaurant flashier than Nerano, the Beverly Hills dining room from the owners of the popular Toscana.

Must-Have Dish: Pasta Uni Bottarga.

Trois Familia
3510 Sunset Blvd., L.A.; 323-725-7800

Ludovic Lefebvre’s Trois Mec is one of the toughest reservations in Hollywood. But sister establishment Trois Familia is merely the most Silver Lake restaurant in Silver Lake, serving a masterful French chef’s brunchy take on what is basically the menu at Taco Bell.

Must-Have Dish: You’ll want a beet tartare tostada.

907 E. Third St., L.A.; 323-849-0480

Chef Wes Whitsell’s Manuela, a sprawling new spot inside the Arts District’s Hauser Wirth & Schimmel mega-gallery, serves kind of a California take on Southern cooking, which means country ham instead of prosciutto, pimento cheese instead of buratta, and a menu reliant on vegetable dishes — farro salad, grilled avocado and polenta with maitake ragu.

Must-Have Dish: Grilled quail with labne and pomegranate.  


This article originally appeared in the Feb. 18 issue of Billboard. 


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