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January 25-31, 2006

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5 Things to Love

Your Expense Account


By Stett Holbrook

In the post-dotcom world, many expense accounts went out the window along with free Odwalla juice and air hockey in the lunchroom. But for those still on the gravy train looking to impress an out-of-town client, Silicon Valley offers a number of high-end dining options that will leave a lasting impression. These restaurants have the style and substance to justify big-ticket entrees as well as catholic tastes that will appeal to a large number of diners.

A.P. Stump's Nothing says expense-account dinner like a fat, expertly grilled steak. But don't stop there. A.P. Stump's turns out fresh fish, barbecue, game and other excellent New American fare with an equally steady hand. 163 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose. 408.292.9928.

Arcadia Chef-impresario Michael Mina's sole South Bay venture is a sybaritic enclave in downtown San Jose. Set in the Marriott Hotel, Arcadia offers gilded versions of regional American specialties like corned salmon and the signature lobster pot pie. 100 W. San Carlos St. (in the San Jose Marriott), San Jose. 408.278.4555.

Grill on the Alley Meat and martinis are the specialties at this popular downtown restaurant. Also look for grilled fish, pasta and potatoes cooked nine different ways. Huge dessert list. 70 S. Market St., San Jose. 408.294.2244.

Spago Palo Alto Wolfgang Puck is the original celebrity chef and the NorCal outpost of his famed L.A. restaurant continues to impress with its inventive, alluring food. Look for rarified California cuisine with the French and Asian accents Puck made famous. 265 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto. 650.833.1000.

Left Bank at Santana Row Hearty yet refined, Left Bank impresses Francophiles and food lovers alike with its good looks, brasserie-style menu and impressive wine list. And the prices are well below what you'd pay for food of this caliber elsewhere. 1100-377 Santana Row, San Jose. 408.984.3500.



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