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Fiance's 40th - Spago, Cut, Craft, Dan Tanas,?? HELP

Hi All
My Fiance's 40th is at the end of August, though we live in the South Bay I have a hotel room for us at the Renaissance on Highland and want to take him out for a great fun dinner. Here is my problem I am stuck where. We have eaten at Jar, Lucques (a favorite), IL Pastaio, Ozza Pizzeria and I want us to go some place new. We both tend to like great ingredients prepared simply.-- Money is kind of issue -- We are getting married next year and don't want to blow too much on this. As much as I want to go to Providence we are going to have to pass for now. Also pass on Asian food since we tend to eat a lot where we live in the South Bay. Where would you suggest we go and what food would you recommend for us, tasting menus, etc?

Thank you so much!

PS Searched the board for ideas and I am still stuck .. thanks

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  1. Since money is an issue, Cut and Spago, while great, might best be saved for another time. Craft might still work, especially since many of the dishes are designed to be shared and "great ingredients prepared simply" could be its catch-phrase. Take a look at All' Angelo, Fraiche and Hatfield's as well.

    9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

    6703 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

    All' Angelo
    7166 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046

    3 Replies
    1. re: New Trial

      Thanks New Trial -

      I just did a quick look and of the three I am leaning towards Hatfield's or All'Angelo. Have you had the tasting menu at Hatfields and if so would you recommend it? I didn't see a tasting menu at All'Angelo do you know if they have one? Thanks again!! Really appreciate it.

      1. re: kat_dew

        As I recall, there is a 5 course tasting menu at All' Angelo but I have not had it, nor have I had the tasting menu at Hatfield's. I have had several meals at both from their regular menus though and enjoyed them; I also have seen a number of favorable posts for both their tasting menus on this Board.

      2. re: New Trial

        Hatfields, All' Angelo, Fraiche, all great choices. And I find Craft to be significantly pricier (in reality) than any of these. Also, if you're going on a weeknight, All' Angelo is having some cool special tapas type thing they're doing.

      3. I believe Exilekiss did a review of Hatfields recently. Do a search, she has pictures too.

        1 Reply
        1. Actually, on special occasions, I tend to go to restaurants that know us, call ahead and arrange something special.

          1. Another suggestion is STK...it's a little pricey, but the food is good and the atmosphere is really fun. They have a DJ and the music is usually great.

            1. thanks all - Right now I am leaning toward Hatfields, All'Angelo and Craft but Spago and Cut haven't been ruled out either. Will let you know how it all turns out. Plus it is Sunset Junction that weekend so good time are to be had.

              1. I think it's possible to get away relatively easy at Craft if you just get 2 entrees (in the $30-40 range), share 1 side (~$15) and 1 dessert ($12). I guess Cut and Craft should both fall more under 'great ingredients prepared simply', but I don't think Spago does.

                I like the ambience of Craft because it's designed to be subtle, and easy to have a conversation without too much loud music or interference from waitstaff.

                1. Most likely to disappoint would be Dan Tana's. There are times when they are arrogant and you feel rushed and neglected. However, most likely to be memorable would also be Dan Tana's and it also can be a great celebratory environment.
                  Since your first comment was fun, I think I would lean towards Dan Tana's and split some courses. You'll have plenty of food and can really control costs. The portions at steak houses can make them some of the best deals around if you split.
                  Go with the right attitude, and you will have a great time.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cls

                    When I think of Dan Tana's, in West Hollywood on Sunset (Beverly Hills adjacent) what comes to mind is the oldtime Hollywood steakhouse and Italian joint with waiters who have been there forever -- sorta like Chasen's or the Brown Derby before they closed. As a result, I can see your evening being very risky, particularly if you are counting dollars. Regulars and high rollers ordinarily treated the best, newcomers and those splitting entrees and not splurging on wine having a good probability of getting the cold shoulder. And maybe it is just me, but I get peeved at the very beginning of a dinner on the Sunset Strip by the ridiculous valet charges.

                    If money is an issue and you've loved Lucques in the past, why not try AOC? Same ownership, nice place, small plates and wine, not quite as quiet or formal as Lucques but still very nice and perhaps more fun. Or, to repeat my favorite recommendation for the best value in good dining on the westside, just follow the refurbished Santa Monica Blvd. through Beverly Hills and by Century City until you cross the 405 and have a great dinner at Nook Bistro -- check out their online menu. Two other possibilities in that general vicinity would be small plates at Orris on Sawtelle (unfortunately no reservations) or above the Wine Shop on Cotner at Upstairs 2.