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Feb 26, 2007 11:30 PM

Mom's bday dinner in West LA

We will have a group of 6 for my mother's birthday. The following are my search criteria:

SCENE: nice but not completely upscale and outrageously expensive, and not too loud and hectic. I want to make my mom feel comfortable (she's not a frilly person, likes simple things) while also making the dinner special (although I know she'd say as long as we are all there, it's special to her).

PRICE: reasonable in price as 1 person will be picking up the tab that night. Looking for about $50-60/person including meals and drinks but excluding tax and tip.

LOCATION: West LA, not too far from Century City.

This is a list of the restaurants I have it narrowed down to. They are all places that my mother has never been, but I've been to the first 3 and loved my experiences there and have never been to the last 2 but would like to try them.

Places I've been:
* Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills - this place seems like one at which my mom would feel most comfortable. I've never seen the bill here - can anyone tell me how much it costs?
* Maestro's in Beverly Hills - also never seen the bill here, and I know it CAN get expensive but there are 4 girls and I'm sure there will be a lot of sharing.
* Opus in Koreatown - was thinking we would do the 3 or 6 course tasting menu. My mother's new husband doesn't have a very good grasp on the English language, so I'm afraid that the descriptions of the courses will be lost on him, which might just about make his experience there less worthwhile.

Places I've never been:
* French 75 in Century City
* Bread Bar in Century City - is this place good for a 6-person group?

Any other reccs along these lines?


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  1. bread bar- casual, not at all what i would think of for mom's bday dinner
    french 75- never been, but universally panned here

    fogo de chao- 50-60 per person set price for the all you can eat- BEFORE tax, tip, dessert
    but if your mom likes meat....... we took our parents there for their anniversary and they loved it

    mastros- will run you WAY more than 60 per person, unless you ALL split apps,entrees, and desserts

    other thoughts- JiRaffe in Santa Monica, Hatfields on Beverly Blvd, La Cachette in Cent City (but maybe more expensive) Enoteca Drago on Beverly Drive (ask to sit upstairs)

    1. I think both fogo de chao and mastros will run over your budget. Same as French 75, plus it's terrible.

      I'm an Opus fan, and I think you'd be more than fine with a 3-course menu with wine pairings for a total of $45 per person. I know it's not quite west side, but it's worth the trek. I'd also recommend Luna Park, which is casual but nice (request a covered booth). It's not overly special but they have some fun items like the chocolate fondue s'mores dessert - kind of special.

      Clare K

      5 Replies
      1. re: Clare K

        the 3-course w/ wine pairing at opus will run $55. still within budget though. if you go, mention that it is your mother's bday and they may provide a cool bday dessert. =)

        1. re: wilafur

          I'm pretty certain that the 3-wine pairing is only $15, and the 6 is $25. So a three course w/wine would be $45 per person only. Unless they changed the prices since I was there last...

          Clare K.

          1. re: Clare K

            the wine pairing for the 3 course tm is $25.

        2. re: Clare K

          Agree. Fogo is EXPENSIVE. Just had a friend's Bday party (8 epople) there and even with bringing our own wine (and some people had vegetarian plate only -don't ask why), it still came out to $90/pp. Plus, you'll feel sick afterwards after eating all that beef...or, maybe that's just me cuz I never turned my card over to red.

          Definitely recommend The Nook!

          1. re: Clare K

            Agree with all of this. I was invited to a free tasting of hors d'oeuvres at French 75 and even that was mediocre.

            Keep in mind that Luna Park can get quite loud and crowded on a busy night. Nook is a great suggestion.

          2. Once again, Nook to the rescue. Tucked in the rear end of a minimall on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Barry (one block east of Barrington) so not far from CC and the parking is free. Lively but comfortable, good service, price for most entrees under $20 with good starters to have or share. Begin with the mac'n'cheese, the mussels, maybe a salad or soup. Their braised shortribs is rich and wonderful and a generous portion, the burger is excellent, and they have chicken, seafood, and vegie options. A group of six can fit in their side booth/table and be very wellfed and happy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nosh

              Nook is Perfect! Violet is also nice.

            2. Try Chez Mimi on 26th near San Vicente or Il Moro on Purdue near Olympic.

              1. I love Nook, but it's small and can get really loud. I'd second Chez Mimi. It's a lovely space with good food. This time of year, fires are blazing and it's really lovely. And I'm sure she'll do something special if you mention that it's a birthday.