Power Lunches

Dining-room one-upmanship

The scenario is almost invariably the same. A young, go-getting executive invites an important client to a business lunch, but everything goes wrong. The maître d' seats them at a table next to the kitchen. Then the executive orders what he thinks is healthful yet trendy fare: Lillet before the meal, followed by fruit salad, chicken à la king, and date-nut bread for dessert. But the executive's entrée costs him the client's respect, and worse, the deal. Reason: his food and drink give the wrong impression.

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