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What's Good Midway Between LA and OC

The Missus and I are in the process of adopting a child, and are meeting some other similarly situated couples for dinner this Saturday evening. Some of these good folks live in OC, so we are trying to find a suitable place that's reasonably convenient from both LA and OC. Unfortunately, this is not a part of SoCal with which I am familiar, and so (as always) I turn to you all.

In addition to geography (i.e., midway between LA and OC), we would like:

(a) good food, but nothing too exotic since we don't know tastes/tolerances yet
(b) we need to be able to carry on a reasonably private conversation, so no place too loud or crowded,
(c) it needs to be moderate in price and fanciness, and
(d) we need to be able to get a reservation with only a few days notice, because I'm a clod and waited until the last minute to post this inquiry.

Having written all this out, it occurs to me that this may well be the most challenging, constraint-ridden request I've ever posted, and I gratefully await your suggestions. TIA hounds.

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  1. "...nothing too exotic..."

    Someplace thats near the top of my rather long "must try" list based on people I've talked to, what I read here, and Jonathan Gold's review is a Peruvian/Japanese:

    http://www.kotoshatkamiyama.com/home....

    I think for the less adventurous diners a fish and rice option, for eample, isn't going to push their culinary envelopes too far and yet provide them with something prepared in an enjoyable version they might not have had before. Maybe someone else can chime in if it is loud or not? One could always call and ask?

    1. I'm thinking Long Beach, depending on where they are coming from in Orange Cty. and assuming you're all generally closer to the 405 Fwy than points east...so maybe this thread will help. ...and congratulations on the new addition!!!

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/368023

      http://www.christysristorante.com/104...

      4 Replies
      1. re: Local

        agree. Long Beach/Belmon Shore area sounds like a good location. I would almost stick with a chain like Lucille's just to satisfy general tastes, but I'm a fan of La Creperie Cafe.

        1. re: Local

          Walt's Wharf sounds good, but they apparently don't take dinner reservations. Is it going to be a zoo on a Saturday evening?

          1. re: David Kahn

            My brother says yes, esp. on weekends, Walt's can be crowded and he once "waited over 40 minutes".

            I'd agree with woojinks suggestion, Lashers. Have only been to their brunch, years ago,...seems consistently good.

            1. re: Local

              also, i'm not WALTs provides the best venue for conversation, although i love their artichoke.

        2. Thai Nakorn, arguably SoCal's best thai restaurant is re-opening in Stanton somewhere.

          3 Replies
          1. re: david t.

            It is, though that is much closer to O.C.

            If Renu Nakorn were open, alas it is not.

            1. re: david t.

              Unfortunately, my wife is allergic to peanuts, which seem to pop up a lot in Thai cuisine.

              1. re: david t.

                Thai Nakorn's new location is on the NW corner of Beach Bl and Chapman Ave

              2. David - Congratulations! That is absolutely terrific, best wishes to the two of you on the great adventure of parenthood.

                Given that you don't want anything exotic, but a nice, quiet type place is what you're looking for, I would really recommend a place in Long Beach called Lasher's. I used to live near there and have been many times... they've also opened a location in Burbank (which is a bit higher end).

                Price ranges should be mid/high teens to low 30s for entrees. It's quite a nice environment... the restaurant is housed in an old converted California Craftsman style home, and Long Beach is very much a good central place between LA and OC. Easy access via the 405.

                Also, depending on timeframe, etc... and the number of people, there are a couple of private type rooms there that they may be able to accomodate you with. There is a small room in the back that can hold 6 easily... maybe 8 (not sure), and there is a larger room in the front part that holds 12-14.

                Traditional American (steaks, seafood, etc...) cuisine. One of the best things there is their clam chowder and they do a great job with soups in general.

                Congratulations again and hope this was helpful.

                1. david...

                  first, congratulations!

                  i would suggest S VIETNAMESE in huntington beach. it's an easy on/off from the 405 and stephanie will accomodate any palate. they have a beautiful room on the other side of the bar where it is very amenable to these types of discussions. the rest of the restaurant would be fine too.

                  also, STARLING DINER, is a wonderful small restaurant in belmont heights/long beach. it's homey and yummy. www.starlingdiner.com