Denver's five best expense-account restaurants
On the rare occasion when someone else is footing the bill for dinner, it's understandably tempting to choose a restaurant where you can ring up a big tab. But an expense-account dinner shouldn't be just an excuse to drop a bunch of Benjamins on a flashy place -- you should also look at the company credit card as an opportunity to test some of Denver's kitchens that are reputed to serve meals that are not just pricy, but delicious. Those spots are way more likely to impress your clients and co-workers, anyway.
Expense-account steak dinner? Head to Elway's.
So here, in no particular order, are Denver's five best expense-account restaurants, the places where we'd want to book a table if a corporate account was picking up the tab.
The Kitchen Denver, 1530 16th Street
We're beginning to see caviar on a few menus around town, but nowhere as obviously and opulently as The Kitchen Denver, where you'll find a choice of Siberian osetra or American sturgeon served with accoutrement like blini and crème fraiche. Pair your roe with a half-dozen oysters and a seafood platter piled with crab legs, mussels and a whole lobster plus a little bubbly, and you've got an impressive -- and expensive -- start to a deal-closing dinner. The restaurant's 16th Street Mall location also makes it a particularly ideal spot for a high-stakes business lunch -- which is probably why a crowd descends on this three-month-old restaurant at noon each day.
Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl Street, Boulder
If you've got the company AmEx at your disposal, why set up a corporate networking dinner at an impressively priced but entirely mediocre hotel restaurant? Instead, head to Frasca in Boulder, where a private dining room offers a good space to get to know out-of-town colleagues while you bond over the four-course menu and, more important, rare selections from the wine cellar. Plus, Frasca's front-of-house staff is particularly adept at dealing with things like your picky co-worker's food aversions and that middle manager who talks too loudly after three martinis, making those hours and hours of small talk with people you only sort of like a little more bearable.
Elway's Cherry Creek, 2500 East First Avenue
Fact: some business calls for a steakhouse. And if you're going to treat your team to ribeyes and red wine, there's no better place in town than Elway's Cherry Creek. This refined shrine to aged beef has all the markings of opulence that define this kind of cuisine: dark and heavy woods, golden lighting and a sleek bar. But the steaks are also a cut above, served a perfect medium rare, seasoned with a savory spice rub and imbued with the tang of the grill. Seafood offerings are also killer, and since you're not picking up the tab, you have good reason to add a lobster tail to dinner.
1530 16th St., Denver, CO