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10 Restaurants With Sexy Swagger Across the U.S.

By Zagat Staff
April 1, 2014

All around the country, new restaurants are opening up that openly celebrate American glamour with hearty food, classic cocktails and interiors that just ooze confidence. These are places where you go to seduce a big client - or anyone else in your sights. Read on for our picks of ten restaurants around the U.S. that possess the same swagger of Mad Men's irresistible leading man.

Check out www.zagat.com/madmen to live life Mad Men-style.

  • Los Angeles: Faith & Flower

    This downtown LA newcomer celebrates both old and new Hollywood with retro-inspired design by firm AvroKO. Think velvet banquettes, vintage chandeliers, leather-backed wooden chairs and extra-large round booths. The California-influenced menu, with a focus on raw bar and wood-fired cooking, was designed by executive chef Michael Hung, formerly of San Francisco’s La Folie, while Michael Lay (Restaurant 1833, Rose.Rabbit.Lie.) heads up the cocktail program.

  • Atlanta: Paper Plane

    With dark brown leather booths, vintage light fixtures and cherrywood paneling, this Atlanta hotspot could easily be mistaken for a Mad Men set - perfect for a long scene of contemplative rye swilling. And like Mad Men's leading man, drinks like The Bitter Southerner (rye whiskey, vermouth, Cynar, Gran Classico, bitters, Pastis) make a perfect aperitif to luxurious plates of braised short rib with celery root, radish and smoked peach. Monday night's Steak Night menu puts a playful spin on the spot's retro vibe, offering budget-friendly hunks of meat (under $15 each) for the modern hipster set.

  • New York City: Gallaghers

    What's old is new again at the newly revamped and renovated Gallaghers Steakhouse in Midtown, which could easily serve as a set for a client dinner. Red leather banquettes, wood paneling and vintage fixtures recall the space's 87-year-old history. A new menu by chef Alan Ashkinaze mostly updates the classics here but mixes things up in a bit in the raw bar section with items like fluke crudo and spicy tuna poke with chile aioli, radish and lime. A hickory coal-fire grill is where the steaks are cooked and offerings include a Porterhouse for two, three or four; boneless sirloin; and a classic filet mignon with a choice of crust (bone marrow, blue cheese, or Makers Mark au poivre).

  • Boston: Wink & Nod

    Zagat 30 Under 30 honorees Phillip Kruta and Jeremy Kean have landed their semi-permanent pop-up Whisk at sexy newcomer Wink & Nod in Boston's South End. From venison tartare, duck meatballs to scallop crudo and a smoked yakitori assortment, the food at this speakeasy-inspired lounge is both classically inspired and forward-thinking at the same time. The dimly lit space features red leather booths and an array of living room furniture that resembles a vintage hotel.

  • Miami: 1826 Restaurant

    The mod-inspired furniture, industrial touches and all-glass exterior found at Miami's 1826 make it one of the sexiest new spots in town, with an equally provocative menu of New American-meets-French spins on comfort food classics. Chef Danny Grant (ex RIA in Chicago) puts his take on classics like beef tartare, foie gras pave, gazpacho and smoked fish mousse in the downstairs dining room. Up at the swanky upstairs lounge you'll find a cocktail menu (which you peruse via iPad) with offerings like a different flavored Bombay Sapphire gin every month.

  • Chicago: Bavette's

    This trendy new Chitown go-to for a steak and a martini, Bavette's, fits right into the Mad Men mindset. With its old-school steakhouse feel - wood paneled walls, red leather booths and vintage light fixtures - this latest addition to the trendy Brendan Sodikoff empire has already become an insta-classic. The timeless menu of steakhouse favorites like crab stuffed avocado, Waldorf salad and an array of steak and burger options will prove a solid base for the long list of libations. Cocktails skew classic - think Mint Juleps, French 75, Negronis and (gasp) an entire menu of Old-Fashioneds. A certain leading man would most definitely approve. 

  • Photo by: Rose.Rabbit.Lie

    Las Vegas: Rose.Rabbit.Lie

    Part restaurant, part cabaret and live entertainment venue, RRL is unlike anything that’s hit the Las Vegas Strip thus far. Several different rooms, all equally lavish, whimsical and over-the-top, completely fit The Cosmopolitan’s “just the right amount of wrong” tagline. You can have cocktails in a study after picking your own vinyl for the turn table, move a wall and enter a dining room that looks into various other rooms with random live acts on stages. There’s music everywhere - this isn’t a quiet dinner type of place - and things to see and experience at every turn. 

    The menu has flourishes of the old school (beef Wellington, short rib Stroganoff, oysters Rockefeller) as well as the new: caviar-stuffed tacos, uni perciatelli and more. Don’t miss out on the special cocktails in the Study. While you have to buy tickets for shows in the Canto room - the latest show is the bawdiest - you can dine in the any of the other spots with or without reservations. 

  • NYC: The Butterfly

    Italian master chef Michael White's ode to mid-century Americana features gussied up American bar food like deviled eggs, wings and chili dogs alongside with fancier items like roasted Arctic Char and Swedish meatballs. Classic-inspired cocktails from mixologist Eben Freeman run the gamut from Mai Tais, to Rusty Nail to a Brandy Old Fashioned - a specialty of White's home state Wisconsin. 

  • Philadelphia: Sutton's Parlor

    Named after notorious moonshiner, Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, this cocktail joint's ambiance evokes that of a clandestine moonshiner's paradise. To go alongside the serious cocktail program is a four-course dinner entitled "Parlor Service" that features old-school tableside presentations of game-heavy dishes. Bar snacks include duck tots, venison tartare and lamb tongue fries. 

  • Washington DC: Joe's Seafood

    The newest outpost of the iconic Miami original is the kind of expense-account ready joint that has businessmen and their dates lining up at the door. Located inside a 100-year-old former bank, the space boasts marble columns, giant windows and soaring views, especially from the top seating area. The large selection of stone crabs, steaks and chops is bountiful enough to please even the grouchiest mogul before he's had his three Gibson martinis.

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