BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING - 2008
Chambers Kitchen - CLOSED
When you want the rock-star treatment, the best of the best, to really go all-out—i.e., those times when somebody else is picking up the tab—make your reservation at Chambers Kitchen. Real estate mogul Ralph Burnet's sleek, boutique Chambers Hotel has a world-class modern art collection and a bigwig, globetrotting chef overseeing the kitchen. Okay, so you probably won't actually lay eyes on the grandmaster of gustation—the world-renowned Jean-Georges Vongerichten—but you can sample the greatest hits of his French-Asian repertoire with the $85 tasting menu ($130 with wine). It begins with raw tuna that's enlivened by crunchy rice crackers and a bright citrus-sriracha emulsion, and builds to duck a l'orange with crystallized tamarind and sweet-and-sour spice-crusted sea bass. The flavors are as bold as the crowd is hip, especially up on the fifth-floor bar. But if you really want to finish the evening in style, see if your sugar mama/daddy will spring for the $3,000-a-night Rock Star suite.