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Group of 20 West LA Dinner

b
bromion Jun 21, 2007 10:57 AM

Looking for suggestions! I have a group of about 20 for dinner on Saturday. I'd like to find a place in the West LA vicinity (WLA, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Century City, Venice, BH, etc) for under $40/person.

Preferences:
-- not Italian (we have Italians from Italy with us... better not to challenge them!)
-- low or no corkage fee (not a deal breaker)
-- all of us can sit together
-- nice, but not pretentious
Otherwise, the field is open.

I got excited when I read about Gulfstream, but their largest table is for 7, and they don't take reservations for more than 5!

  1. m
    maudies5 Jun 28, 2007 09:37 PM

    I would seriously consider The Gardens on Glendon in Westwood. Ask for the back room. It''s not pretentious and should be fit your budget. Have no idea about corkage. Suggest calling. Would be my first choice given your requirements.

    1. b
      bromion Jun 28, 2007 08:11 PM

      U-Zen was great! One of my Japanese colleagues was with us, and he actually goes there quite often, I learned. I let him order! We ended up having 12 people. We got a nice mix of sashimi, nigiri, rolls, tempura, and a wonderful beef sukiyaki. All of the fish was fresh and tasty, with the right texture. Total including tax and gratuity came to $330, no alcohol. Not bad!

      1. Emme Jun 21, 2007 01:44 PM

        If you're willing to consider going to an ethnic restaurant, I'd consider Shamshiri for Persian.

        You could also call over to any of the Ethiopian restaurants on Fairfax (Meals, Messob, Rahel)

        I'd look into Dar Maghreb or Mouns of Tunis (though these as well aren't in West LA proper)

        Gosh, I'm heading even farther away but perhaps Thousand Cranes for Japanese

        1. b
          bromion Jun 21, 2007 01:26 PM

          Well, I reserved Uzen. They have the space, so I thought I should jump on it.

          1. j
            JE33 Jun 21, 2007 12:39 PM

            Try Typhoon in the Santa Monica Airport. They are great with groups, the space is really nice, especially early evenings in the summer, food is fine and easy to share...You can easily fit within your budget and if you call them up they will probably make you a deal on the corkage if not a whole menu...

            Or maybe Border Grill in Santa Monica? Or one of those upscale VIP Harbor Seafood type Chinese places?

            None is as upscale as Upstairs, but if it's Thursday and you are planning a Saturday night dinner for 20 on the biggest graduation weekend of the year, you could do a lot worse...

            1. b
              bromion Jun 21, 2007 12:08 PM

              Thoughts on U-Zen? It's listed as "good for groups" on Citysearch (for what that's worth).

              1 Reply
              1. re: bromion
                c
                chowbee Jun 21, 2007 12:51 PM

                I've never been with a large group but there is one very large (communal type) table right up front. I would call to make sure, but I think you could easily seat 20 there. They also have a table in the back that would easily seat 10 or so (there was a large family there last time we were there). The menu is quite varied and has more than the usual teriyaki and tempura for non-sushi eaters. The cooked food is quite good, and the sushi as well. I've only had the traditional sushi and sashimi, but they do have elaborate rolls as well. It's not blow your mind sushi (although I have had some really amazing tuna there--it's always very good but only sometimes swoon-inducing), but it's very good and well-priced. I have no idea about corkage.

              2. goodhealthgourmet Jun 21, 2007 11:52 AM

                skip gulfstream even if they can accommodate you. food is very uneven there, and some of us have had bad experiences recently.

                1. o
                  Obessed Jun 21, 2007 11:10 AM

                  Upstairs 2

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Obessed
                    b
                    bromion Jun 21, 2007 11:33 AM

                    I was thinking about Upstairs 2. I know their corkage is $10 if bought at Wine House (should be free!). Are their restaurant wines significantly marked up?

                    1. re: bromion
                      gomagoma Jun 21, 2007 11:54 AM

                      Upstairs 2 immediately came to my mind as well, but they are very busy on Saturdays, so you might want to call them right away (the 3 times I've been, all Saturdays, with no open tables). I've seen other restaurants with a higher mark up (I didn't roll my eyes like when I did at Patina....) so I wouldn't worry too much although getting there before the Wine House closes is the best way to do it!

                      1. re: gomagoma
                        b
                        bromion Jun 21, 2007 12:04 PM

                        I just find buying wine at THEIR STORE then having to pay $10 for corkage a bit... gauche, no? Don't get me wrong, I shop there all the time, but I wouldn't if everything were $10 more expensive : )

                        1. re: bromion
                          gomagoma Jun 21, 2007 12:23 PM

                          I know what you mean....the pricer the wine you bring, the less expensive it feels for another $10, but not really if the bottles are $10-40 or so. FYI, the LA Wine Co. near the Marina has some great deals from time to time (Conundrum $10 less than Wine House).

                          I've never been to U-Zen, sorry. I just stopped by Sawtelle Kitchen and their expanded room seems like it could fit 20.

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