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Chinese banquet restaurant in San Gabriel Valley?

j
jwchen Apr 9, 2008 02:58 PM

Hi, I'm hoping to find a good Chinese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley for about 36 scholars of Chinese literature and history. I'd appreciate any recommendations!

  1. h
    Heizee Jun 28, 2008 02:29 PM

    I had my wedding last year and I went with Empress Harbour in Monterey Park. It was between 888, Capital Restaurant, and Empress Harbour. We picked Empress because of the location and it sounded so good when we talked to the manager. He made it sound that he would accomodate all of our requests. He said he would accomodate all our requests and we took his words for it. On our big day, it was a disappointment. On the way to the restaurant, I was already getting calls from my decorator with her complaints about the attitude of the staff of the restaurant. When I entered the restaurant and saw the tables, I got really mad. Getting mad during your day was just not what you wanted. He made a decision on so many things (which I'm not going to discuss here) without consulting with us. Basically, he broke our agreement. On top of that, the service was unpleasant, and my relatives and coworkers had complaints about the staff after the wedding. We also lost a couple of gifts from our registry. My grandma said that the waiter picked up her gift (which she placed by her chair) and brought to the kitchen. We found the gift bag after we asked for a bag or container to put the cake decorations at the end of the night, but no gift. My coworker said that the waiter offered to keep her gift in the kitchen for her but she refused. When we talked to the manager about our gifts, he was defensive and protected his staff. The food was okay. He replaced the prawns with shrimp which was not right. Thats not what we paid for and agreed on. We had alcohol on the tables but not all tables were occupied, so we dont know what happened to the other alcohol. We also put them in charge of the champagne which we ended up not using, and they just allowed people to take it. At the end of the night, they tried to tax us twice. Oh did I mentioned that the staff/waiters started pulling out the seat covers while our event was still going and guests were still eating and socializing... I dont know if its normal for weddings to have some unpleasant experience like that, but I regret going with Empress Harbour.. I'm not Chinese, but I respect my husband's culture. If I could turn back the time, I would have gone with 888 or maybe Capital Seafood, but not Empress Harbour for sure. The stress was unnecessary...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Heizee
      j
      justagthing Jun 28, 2008 04:09 PM

      Wow! Sorry to hear about your special day and the problems you had. This is the kind of feedback I am looking for as I am trying to find a place to have my wedding banquet. It has been awhile since I have attended a Chinese banquet and don't know where and what is the right places nowadays. Thanks and sorry.

    2. s
      SeaCook Apr 18, 2008 11:19 AM

      Mission 261 located across the San Gabriel Mission and inside the old San Gabriel City Hall

      888 Seafood on Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel

      1. Mr Taster Apr 17, 2008 03:06 PM

        I can wholeheartedly recommend Mission 261, which holds a special place in my heart since my wife and I were married there, under the century old grapevine in the open air courtyard.

        The food was quite good, the decor soothing, elegant and comfortable, and the staff was very professional. On top of this, for the quality of food and service, we felt it was extremely affordable. We had 6 tables (technically 10 people per table, though each table could have easily fed 15), and the price including alcohol (2 bottles of house wine per table) and tip came to about $2300.

        Remember that Chinese banquet restaurants base their rates per table of ten, but you can always add a few extra chairs per table-- there's more than enough food.. Just don't mention it to the maitre'd. Taking this into account, you should be able to fit it into your budget.

        Mr Taster

        -----
        Mission 261 Restaurant
        261 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        1. Vince S Apr 15, 2008 08:30 PM

          I can vouch for ipsedixit's suggestions. Been to these two restaurants.

          Green Village
          Chang's Garden

          And seriously, nothing decent comes out of Chinatown these days.

          For Cantonese try Elite or Sea Harbor.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Vince S
            a
            aventinus Apr 18, 2008 10:40 AM

            I think Green Village is superb. Also agree that Chinatown is pretty lame.

            1. re: Vince S
              PeterL Jun 28, 2008 07:07 PM

              Either one will blow OP's budget up.

            2. raytamsgv Apr 11, 2008 11:41 AM

              It is possible to have 4 tables for about 300 per table, but you won't be able to order the expensive items. If the banquet menus are too expensive, then you can order items straight off the menu. Even if they average $15 per dish, that's only $150 per table if you order ten dishes (not including tax and tips). I'd recommend the following:
              Empress Harbor (Monterey Park)
              Elite (Monterey Park)
              NBC (Monterey Park)
              Seafood Village (Temple City)
              Note: all of these are Cantonese places with the exception of Seafood Village, which is Cantonese/Chiu Chow.

              888 has great dim sum, but the dinner is just OK.

              Here's some more information: http://www.geocities.com/raytamsgv/ch...

              10 Replies
              1. re: raytamsgv
                j
                Jerome Apr 11, 2008 12:54 PM

                I would seriously consider
                888 Seafood . They do wedding banquets and they will do what's necessary for a party - carved vegetables, etc. Nice decor, good service.
                The other option is that you can take over Giang-nan and get the big banquet menu, thirty- six people for major banquets will fill the place. The food is excellent and they will do what's necessary. The big banquet menu at Giang-nan is very impressive. I would only ask them if they know how to garnish banquet plates properly.

                I heartily disagree with those who say the dinner is just OK at 888. The goose, the quail i've had there was great. I will say at any place here that you have to order carefully.

                I will also say that Empress Pavilion in Chinatown can wow a banquet if you get the Special winter melon soup, served in what looks like a miniature space pod. If they can carve the melon as well, then it would be amazing.

                Mission 261 might be a good choice, but you will need to go in advance actually to ANY place and work out the details especially mentioning that you need an elaborately decorated set of cold plates and proper banquet garnishing.

                my two cents.

                Editing: i see the budget. I'd very much look at Giang-nan. If you speak chinese or have access to someone who does and can get the banquet menu - you can get an excellent banquet for 36 at 3x12 - about $300 for ten so with negotiated discount - and closing the restaurant for your affair, probably about $1000 or maybe less - no alcohol but you can negotiate to buy some cases of beer and wine and chinese liquors are availabe at the local 99 ranch market (even wuliangye, real maotai, and some stuff that's actually drinkable).

                Given your budget, I would highly recommend Giang-nan and just take over the place. The banquet menus are quite good and maybe they can fax them to you.

                (it is Huai-yang food aka Jiangsu/Zhejiang cuisine, sometimes erroneously called Shanghai food here)

                1. re: Jerome
                  j
                  jwchen Apr 13, 2008 10:42 AM

                  Thanks to all -- the comments and suggestions have been very helpful. I think we're going to forego the banquet menu for ordering from the menu at Empress! I'll let you know how it goes...

                  1. re: jwchen
                    j
                    Jerome Apr 13, 2008 08:33 PM

                    seriously , just call giang-nan and have them fax you the banquet menu. I think it will be interesting for all involved.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      j
                      Jerome Apr 14, 2008 01:28 AM

                      Because i like it better than meilong village or J.Z. I think they have a lighter touch with the soy sauce, more balance with the vinegar and I don't just go for the xlb. I like the tangyuan and i've never had a bad meal there.

                      But I"ll admit that it's rare that i get all hot and bothered about a trad yue-ts'ai place. I leave that to others, although I like the live fish selection at MPV and for late night in town, full house does a great prawn/shrimp from the tank, with the roe.

                      MPV did get rid of their special yue-ts'ai cantonese luncheon dishes and set up a dimsum. I haven't been yet.

                      So now you know. I believe you like meilong village for this kind of food, am I right? Merrylin was ok but i think they've closed (same mall on Las Tunas as Vietnam [house?]).

                      Incidentally, I also really like Hunan (army) on colima and Ma Lan on hacienda heights and I would never recommend a banquet at either.

                      1. re: Jerome
                        ipsedixit Apr 14, 2008 01:14 PM

                        I like the tangyuan at GN as well, but everything else I find a bit unrefined.

                        I think the MPV location on Garfield/Valley has started dim sum, but the one one New/Valley has not, could be wrong.

                        By the way, have you tried Fortune Bistro on Las Tunas in Alhambra?

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          raytamsgv Apr 14, 2008 03:49 PM

                          I went to MPV on Garfield/Valley last year. They had order-from-the-menu dim sum.

                          This is a bit of a nit-pick: I believe Fortune Bistro is actually in San Gabriel.

                          1. re: raytamsgv
                            ipsedixit Apr 14, 2008 04:33 PM

                            You're absolutely right re: Fortune Bistro being in SG.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              j
                              Jerome Apr 15, 2008 05:47 PM

                              not yet.
                              do you recommend it?

                              1. re: Jerome
                                ipsedixit Apr 15, 2008 09:31 PM

                                I went when it first opened over 6 months ago. Back then it was nearly empty most of the time and the turnover on the food was, as expected, extremely low, and hence many of the dishes appeared and tasted tired and uninspiring. Based on that one visit, I would not recommend it. But, again, note the caveat -- just opened, still getting sea legs, etc.

                                I've been meaning to go back and try it again ...

                        2. re: Jerome
                          jonahlee Apr 16, 2008 10:34 AM

                          Yea I have to say i Thoroughly enjoy the seafood at MPV on Garfield.

                2. w
                  WHills Apr 9, 2008 07:32 PM

                  I guess the question is what is your budget...

                  For solid, reasonably priced Cantonese food in Monterey Park:
                  Empress Harbour (great service, clean, solid food)
                  NBC Seafood
                  Capital Seafood (good food, nice decor)

                  All of the above have rooms you could book.

                  Other options:
                  Lu Din Gee (although the duck in Beijing is 10 times better, so might not be worth it)
                  Green Village

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: WHills
                    j
                    jwchen Apr 9, 2008 08:01 PM

                    Thank you for the suggestions -- the budget is around $1200, including tax/tip/alcohol. Nice decor is a plus. Would 888 Seafood in Rosemead be suitable? Unfortunately, I'm trying to do this remotely, from Berkeley.

                    1. re: jwchen
                      ipsedixit Apr 9, 2008 09:20 PM

                      You'll be hard pressed to do a banquet for 36 people for an all-inclusive price of 1200 at any of the above mentioned places, with the possible exception of Green Village.

                      Are your guests from mainlaind China? If so, are you opting for a Chinese banquet because (a) it's what they actually want or (b) it's what you want to do to impress them?

                      In any event, along the same lines of Green Village, you might consider Chang's Garden in Arcadia, which is a Shanghainese joint, or maybe some place like MPV Seafood Restaurant in Alhambra.

                    2. re: WHills
                      w
                      WHills Apr 10, 2008 09:00 PM

                      You might be able to do it at NBC or Empress. Call them ahead of time. You can probably do a table at around $300, and if you seat 13 a table, you can make your budget. Capital Seafood would be good. Call them and see if they can do it.

                      888 is terrible for dinner. It's only good for dim sum.

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