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Insiders Guide: The Restaurants

Illustration: Christopher Silas Neal

Get our your corporate cards! The power lunch (and dinner) is alive and well in New York, and though some of the locales and faces have changed, much remains the same. You'll still find the media elite munching on the $36 Cobb salad at Michael's and moguls brokering at the Four Seasons restaurant while also sampling some new hotspots.

THE OLD GUARD

Michael's
24 W. 55th St.; (212) 767-0555

"I go to Michael's because it's as close as it gets to a private club for media executives," says Showtime CEO Matt Blank. Wednesday remains the who's-who lunching day that spawned a weekly Mediabistro.com column and now a house-run Twitter account, which spits out sightings as they happen. Recently #INTHEHOUSE: IAC chair Barry Diller, New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, Paradigm's Sam Gores, Warner Music Group CEO Lyor Cohen, Ewan McGregor and Kristin Chenoweth. (And yes, people complain when they aren't tweeted.)

Le Cirque
151 E. 58th St.; (212) 644-0202

Now housed in the gleaming Bloomberg Tower, Sirio Maccioni's temple to French cuisine remains one of the city's most esteemed -- and indulgent -- eateries. Jackets are required in the soaring
circular dining room, though that's hardly an imposition to the well-heeled guests who include Charlie Rose, Regis Philbin, Bill Cosby, Richard Gere, Donald Trump, Woody Allen and Robert De Niro.

The Four Seasons
99 E. 52nd St.; (212) 754-9494

Having hosted events as varied as JFK's 45th birthday bash in 1962 to the bar mitzvah of Jeff Zucker's son Andrew, this restaurant is one of the city's most storied dining spots. Lunchtime in the Philip Johnson-designed Grill Room continues to attract top brass from media, finance and politics -- legend has it that the term "power lunch" was coined in reference to the room's midday spectacle, which now includes Michael Ovitz, Mario Cuomo, Martha Stewart and investment company Blackstone Group co-founder Steve Schwarzman. "You do feel like you're in a great New York establishment when you go there," says CBS Corp. communications head Gil Schwartz.

The Waverly Inn and Garden
16 Bank St.; (917) 828-1154

Stop in any weeknight (the once unlisted restaurant now accepts reservations on OpenTable) to see Graydon Carter's cozy dining room and ivy-covered garden packed with stars (Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow) and such regulars as Harvey Weinstein, Diane von Furstenberg and Rachel Zoe.

THE NEW GUARD

ABC Kitchen
35 E. 18th St.; (212) 475-5829

Jean-Georges Vongerichten's paean to local and organic (down to the "100 percent post-consumer fiber, no new trees" menus) adjoining the ABC Carpet & Home department store is a hit with the ostensibly health-conscious set, from the fashion crowd and celebrities (Cindy Crawford, Orlando Bloom, David Beckham) to politicians (President Obama stopped by in March for a fund-raising dinner) to bigwigs such as Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey and Lifetime and History channel president Nancy Dubuc, who praises the "warm and comfortable decor," adding, "their caramel ice cream popcorn sundae is my favorite indulgence."

The Lambs Club
132 W. 44th St; (212) 997-5262

The headquarters for Conde Nast, HBO and Viacom are all within shouting distance of Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian's red-and-black Deco dining room in Midtown's Chatwal Hotel. "It's like their cafeteria," Zakarian says of regulars such as HBO's Eric Kessler and Richard Plepler (who has crafted his own off-the-menu salad), Conde Nast Entertainment head Dawn Ostroff, CBS Corp. chief Les Moonves and Viacom COO Tom Dooley. Says Ostroff, "It's close by, and it's very, very good food." 

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St.; (212) 925-3797

Nestled in De Niro's revamped Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, this always-packed Italian taverna draws the neighborhood's indie and not-so-indie film crowd (Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller) plus managers, agents and local A-listers (Kelly Ripa, Beyonce) who come for the expert family-style fare from chef Andrew Carmellini. "Sitting on the big comfy couches by the fire or looking out at the garden makes me feel as if I'm on my own mini-vacation," says Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal, "even if it's only for 45 minutes."

Crown
24 E. 81st St.; (646) 559-4880

Waverly Inn vet John DeLucie opened up his latest venture in a 1930s townhouse near the Metropolitan Museum of Art in September -- a smart move, considering the dearth of trendy establishments in the area. Power powwows of late have included DiGa's Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley as well as Al Roker and Ann Curry.

What do you think?

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