Best Expense-Account Dinner - 2010
Everything about Rioja radiates perfection, from the flavors and flourishes on the plate to the wine list and waitstaff — which is precisely the kind of faultless experience you should expect when you're celebrating an anniversary, bar mitzvah, time off for good behavior or an extra five hours of furlough. If you're part of the precious few still flush with a no-holds-barred expense account, you may as well uncork a Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne for $185 before moving on to a 2006 Numanthia Termes Termanthia Toro for a mere $525. To complement your impeccable taste in grapes, chef Jennifer Jasinski turns out a similarly flawless menu, beginning with oysters Rockefeller, tuna prepared two ways, or a "picnic" of artisan meats and cheeses. Follow the bliss with Jasinski's paella gnocchi or her braised Wagyu boneless beef short ribs. And for dessert, beignets plumped with black mission figs and goat cheese and a glass of 2007 Mission Hill Reserve Riesling Icewine. When the bill comes, kiss the feet of your host and hope that he invites you back for a repeat visit.