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Mom's bday dinner in West LA

w
waterisgood Feb 26, 2007 11:30 PM

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?

Thanks!

  1. m
    msmd310 Feb 27, 2007 01:04 AM

    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. Clare K Feb 27, 2007 11:15 AM

      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
      http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Clare K
        wilafur Feb 27, 2007 12:33 PM

        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
          Clare K Feb 27, 2007 01:12 PM

          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.
          http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...

          1. re: Clare K
            wilafur Feb 27, 2007 01:36 PM

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

        2. re: Clare K
          v
          vinosnob Feb 27, 2007 02:47 PM

          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
            t
            TracyS Feb 28, 2007 05:41 AM

            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. n
            nosh Feb 27, 2007 11:45 AM

            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
              e
              ElissaInPlaya Feb 27, 2007 12:35 PM

              Nook is Perfect! Violet is also nice.

            2. n
              New Trial Feb 27, 2007 01:53 PM

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

              1. perk Feb 27, 2007 02:52 PM

                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.

                1. c
                  chowmominLA Feb 27, 2007 02:55 PM

                  I like Orris (on Sawtelle)... reasonably priced, nice but comfortable, different, special/unique, great food, great service... although some will say it's too loud in there. I guess on the weekend it would be busier and louder. But I went during the week on the earlier side (6:15 or so) and it was totally fine. So, it may depend on when you'd go.

                  Orris
                  2006 Sawtelle Blvd (at La Grange Ave.)
                  Los Angeles, CA 90025
                  (310) 268-2212
                  www.orrisrestaurant.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowmominLA
                    n
                    NAspy Feb 27, 2007 07:40 PM

                    Orris is great but I don't think they take reservations and the space may be too cramped and loud.

                  2. chica Feb 27, 2007 09:52 PM

                    Of your top three, I'd recommend Mastro's in BH, but DOWNSTAIRS. Upstairs can get loud, but you can enjoy a peaceable, special occasion dinner downstairs, with as you said, large, shareable portions.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chica
                      westsidegal Feb 28, 2007 05:40 PM

                      but this would be WAY over budget unless a couple of guests stuck to eating the pretzel bread.

                    2. SauceSupreme Feb 28, 2007 08:43 AM

                      You know, Bread Bar is nice enough, but I don't know if I would go there for a birthday dinner.

                      1. w
                        writergirl Feb 28, 2007 05:56 PM

                        Please don't go to French 75, it sucks so badly! Just awful faux French. Bread Bar is really just a lunch/breakfast type of cafe (quite tasty), it's not a dinner type place (especially a mom's birthday dinner.) One place I've not been but people have suggested that may fit your bill is La Cachette. I've been wanting to try it based on the reviews on this board, and it's near Century City, and seems to be reasonably priced.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: writergirl
                          tony michaels Feb 28, 2007 06:44 PM

                          La Cachette is a very good restaurant with excellent French food, but I really doubt that it will be below or at the price point the OP was looking to spend. The least expensive appetizer is $14 and the least expensive entree starts around $27 and goes up into the mid to high $30's or even $40's - and that's without any drinks.

                          http://www.lacachetterestaurant.com/m...

                        2. Emme Feb 28, 2007 07:36 PM

                          Not necessarily my favorite, but Pane e Vino tends to be popular among the "less young" crowd; my BF's mom "just loves that patio that is just like a little place in Tuscany."

                          1. w
                            waterisgood Feb 28, 2007 08:15 PM

                            Thanks for all the input so far, everyone! As a response to most of the posts above collectively, I'd say that I now I see that some of my original choices were either too expensive, inappropriate for a birthday dinner, or the food there was not great. I do love Luna Park but not for my mother's birthday. I've never tried The Nook and so far it sounds like it might be what I'm looking for. So as of now, I am deciding between The Nook and Opus. Thanks!

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