Best Restaurant To Impress A Client (2002)

The Latilla Room

Just tell that client -- the one who controls whether you make your mortgage -- that you're taking him or her to your favorite little hole in the wall.

Actually, it's more like a hole-in-the-rock, tucked into the Sonoran Desert foothills that make up the fabulous Boulders resort, surrounded by the 12-million-year-old granite boulder formations that dot the landscape. The restaurant's decor is the source of its name, with the main room's ceiling crafted from ocotillo branches (called "latilla," or "little sticks" in Spanish). Your client will be so breathless from the ambiance there'll be no air left to complain about your cost proposal.

And soon, your client's mouth will be too full of sumptuous American-Southwestern cuisine to quibble about anything. Who could argue over foie gras with creamy polenta, beet slices, fresh berries, and port reduction; grilled vegetable muffaleta strudel; seared Chilean sea bass with shrimp pot stickers and crisp chicken in a spicy crayfish broth; an Italian cowboy veal chop with Sicilian green olives, peppercorns, artichoke hearts and pancetta-mashed potatoes; or hazelnut praline ice cream layer cake?

If there's any doubt, after dinner, take your client to the desert-landscaped patio, boasting a fireplace and a huge boulder waterfall. Just remember, once the account is firmly landed, to bill the evening back on your expense account.

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