Best Restaurant When Someone Else Pays - 2009
Gaia Ristorante - CLOSED
So a bailed-out corporate CEO has invited you to dinner. First question: Do you have him pay for the meal before you leave home? Followed by: Where to go? We would take the son-of-a-gun to Gaia Ristorante, and on behalf of swindled taxpayers everywhere, we'd first order Hudson Valley foie gras with lobster, porcini mushrooms, and aged balsamic ($28). From there, a smooth segue into linguine with fresh Mediterranean clams ($21). Fish course: Black cod fillet, porcini mushrooms, carmelized onion, and artichoke heart ($36). Meat course: Milk-fed veal chop ($42). Broccolini ($8) and truffled mashed potatoes ($8) will serve nicely as side dishes. For dessert: sweet San Marzano tomato jam with fennel salad and biscotti ($12). A bottle or two of one of Gaia's reserve Italian wines should suffice (we wouldn't even look at the list, but just tell the sommelier we wanted the best). Then, once the hefty bill is taken care of, with an appropriately hefty tip, we would beat this guy up good. But if someone else with deep pockets invites you to dinner — like, say, a decent human being — we recommend you plot a similar scenario as aforementioned, only instead of capping things off with fisticuffs, do so with deep, heartfelt appreciation.