Group Dining In SD Gaslamp For 15-20?
A friend of mine is staffing a convention function over the weekend in SD, close to the Gaslamp Quarter. He needs to host a dinner on Friday or Saturday for 7-8 volunteer staff at 15-20 a head, and I was wondering if you could recommend anything. Food needs to be relatively approachable since the degree of sophistication in diners attending may be highly variable. Some adventurous menu items would be cool, but a few not-too-exciting standbys would be helpful too.
Yeah, I'm a noob, but we only recently moved here. :( Help!
At that price point, you'll find your options somewhat limited as the nice restaurants there tend to be more in the $20-30/head range.
Chopahn Afghan Restaurant would be perfect, but not sure if people will find it approachable. As someone who's eaten lots of ethnic food, I can tell you that Afghan food is pretty tame stuff, but people might balk at it.
Gaslamp Strip Club may be a good option. You cook your own steak there, but the food is very ordinary and should work for people who don't like unusual flavors.
Another good option might be Alambres, which is a high-end taco shop on 5th Ave. near F St. They have pretty nice tacos made with different kinds of meats, and people could eat well there and even have a couple of beers and still be in your price range. The flavors are relatively standard Mexican options, with a few unusual choices for those who want something different. The atmosphere isn't much though - it's definitely a very casual place. They do have menus though, and take orders at the table, and serve on actual plates w/ silverware, so it's not like going to a Roberto's or something.
15-20 a head really isn't doable in the Gaslamp, even at the strip club or a family style restaurant - especially on a Fri or Sat. when they are very crowded. If it's 15-20 per entree that might be a different story.
The Strip Club could be fun, but they have some "risque" sort of pin up pictures on the walls, so might not be appropriate for a work gathering (yes, I'm an employment lawyer.) Red Pearl Kitchen might work, but Fri/Sat. will be tough for that large a group. He might have better luck doing something catered in.
I just remembered another couple of options.
1) Rock Bottom Brewery - They're pretty close to the convention center (4th and G I believe). The cuisine won't set the world on fire, but it's certainly edible and will appeal to people whose idea of adventure are the "exotic" offerings at Cheesecake Factory. They make pretty decent beer on the premises, and the cost is definitely in the range you specified. It's also kind of a fun, party atmosphere.
2) Royal Thai. They're on 5th, I think near Market St. Decent Thai food, nothing special. Some items are pretty approachable for people who don't like anything too weird.
3) Buca Di Beppo. Yes, it's a chain. No, it's not authentic. But, it's inexpensive, and it's easy to feed a large group there. Again, nothing earth-shattering foodwise, but people will leave satisfied, and the food is perfectly decent mid-range Americanized Italian food.
The more I think about it, given the size of the group and the cost you're looking for, Rock Bottom or Buca are probably going to be your best bets. No matter which one you choose, definitely make a reservation because the Gaslamp gets crazy on weekends.