It must be pleasant indeed to be able to plan gala meals without any annoying financial constraints. For those of you in such plush circumstances, we offer these pricey paragons of the culinary arts. The rest of you can take some solace in knowing that you've avoided some perception issues with the folks in procurement.
1. Queue de Cheval Steak House, Montreal (queuedecheval.com)
Let's start on a relatively modest note with this highly regarded eatery, whose average cost of $85 per meal, per person, won't register too seismically if preceded by a nice, results-oriented meeting or event. The beef served here is all corn-fed and dry-aged for 35 days, producing a hefty 24-oz porterhouse that will serve as good ballast for attendees in a hurricane.
2. Gordon Ramsay, London (gordonramsay.com)
Now let's leap into a loftier bracket. This exclusive restaurant, open since 1998 in the famous chef's mother country, has just 13 tables with seating for fewer than 60. Average price per meal, per person, comes to US$183, for specialties such as cornish lamb and pigeon, and pigeon with foie gras. Submit your receipt to the bean counters and you might feel like a pigeon -- a homing pigeon, fresh from being kicked out of the office.
3. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenéé, Paris (alain-ducasse.com)
We're talking delicious modern French cuisine, with an average meal costing between US$210-$250. The dishes, accompanied by choice of caviar, duck liver sauce or giblets of lamb, come à la carte, leaving you à la broke.
4. Masa (masanyc.com)
In the Time Warner Center in Manhattan's Columbus Circle, Masa seats just 26 people who, while paying around $300 per person, prix-fixe, enjoy a three-hour experience with exquisite Japanese cuisine. No menu needed here, as the daily options are created by whim of the eponymous chef himself. New York Magazine raves about the white truffle tempora that's often served in the fall, and the tuna tartare with aji mackeral sashimi tossed in shiso blossoms, otherwise known as "your budget garnished with a red flag."
5. Aragawa, Tokyo (no website; for detailed review: tomostyle.wordpress.com)
Don't let the dark, office-building basement environs of this steak house fool you: This is upper-upscale Japanese food. Here is another place where they don't bother with a menu -- because you come for the kobe beef served with capsicum (aka pepper) and mustard. By meal's end, and at these prices (an average meal here hits the high note at US$370), you'll truly feel spent.
Sources: Meetings & Conventions, forbes.com, mostcostly.com