If you’re still making your holiday gift list and checking it twice, consider the power of the grand gesture and indulge your best clients with a luxurious dinner party in their honor. For one memorable evening in December (or even January), close the door on the workaday world, rediscover the art of conversation and linger over an exceptional meal in an exquisite setting. To help you plan a lovely—and long-remembered—party, here are four unique private-dining experiences.
Clients who appreciate old-school civility will be impressed by a stylish holiday soirÃ©e at the 510 Lounge (510mpls.com), discreetly located within the landmark 510 Groveland building near the Walker Art Center. Relax in the bar with frothy daiquiris and then move to the well-appointed Swift Room for just-shucked oysters with champagne mignonette, imperial Osetra caviar, seared scallops with sweet potato latkes and the signature 510 Groveland salmon. Conclude the evening with dark chocolate semifreddo and snifters of vintage cognac.
For a quintessentially Dickensian holiday experience, invite your clients to join you at W.A. Frost (wafrost.com) in St. Paul’s picturesque Cathedral Hill neighborhood. If the ghosts of Christmas present are in a benevolent mood, snowflakes will be falling on the turn-of-the-century Victorian mansions, lending a frisson of magic to the evening. Warm up with hot French toddies in the bar and then gather in the Fireside Room for warm artichoke brandade, pan-roasted chicken and potato purÃ©e, followed by crÃ¨me brulÃ©e and port.
For an evening infused with vintage Minneapolis glamour, take your guests to Murray’s (murraysrestaurant.com), where the iconic midcentury red neon casts a Rudolph-style glow on the snowy street. Toast to the spirit of the season with martinis and Manhattans in the cocktail lounge and then move to the main dining room adorned with mirrored panels and elegant drapery. Begin with crab cakes and wedge salads, then enjoy Murray’s signature Silver Butter Knife steaks with bÃ©arnaise and hash browns. For dessert, linger over lemon Pavlova and Champagne.
Butcher and the Boar
For a modern twist on a medieval holiday feast, invite your guests to take their places around a long chef’s table in the rustic Butcher Room at Butcher and the Boar (butcherandtheboar.com). Kick off the evening with absinthe-laced Sazeracs and feast on elk terrine, wild boar sausage, smoked pork chops, fried green tomatoes and red-hot Brussels sprouts washed down with pints of Duvel Belgian Golden Ale. Cap off the evening with small pours of cask-strength, single-barrel, small-batch bourbon.
Festive Feast Days
Celebrate the season at these local restaurants.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Day: December 12, Making MerryMinneapolis, salsaalasalsa.com
St. Lucia’s Day: December 13, Fika, American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, fikacafe.net
Hanukkah: December 12-20, Cecil’s, St. Paul, cecilsdeli.com
Winter Solstice: December 21, Moscow on the Hill, St. Paul, moscowonthehill.com
Christmas Eve: December 24, St. Paul Grill, St. Paul, stpaulgrill.com