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Lucques, Craft or Grace for my Sunday birthday dinner for 6?

Hi All,

I'd love some help figuring out where I should do my birthday dinner. My family is flying into town for Thanksgiving and my bday the Sun. before so there will be 6 of us. I've lived in LA for 3 years but have yet to get to Lucques, Craft or Grace.

If I had a bday "wishlist" it would read as follows: (in order of priority)
1. Seriously good food
2. Good cocktails
3. Nice "special" atmosphere

My BF and I have been to many of the tasting menu spots...Providence, Bastide, Ortolan, Sona, but since this is a family dinner, we're looking to go a notch below that. (The first year they visited for my bday we went to Jiraffe in SM and it was great.)

I know Lucques has its $45 Sunday Supper, which is a nice deal but depending on what's on offer that week, I may or may not be psyched for the limited options available. Also, we've been to AOC which I realize is a different experience altogether than Lucques, however, while it was perfectly fine...we weren't exactly bowled over by it.

We've had some experience with Tom Colicchio's places. My BF's brother was a chef under him at Gramercy Tavern in NYC, and we've been to Craftsteak (very good) in Vegas.

Hatfield's would've been my third choice, but they are closed on Sun. I took my BF to Animal for his bday in Aug., and the food was fabulous, but I'd really like to check out some place new. Also Animal's decor was just a bit too austere as a place I want to celebrate my 35th bday.

Appreciate any thoughts on the ones I've listed or suggestions on others!!
Thx the bday girl

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  1. I was not impressed at all by the Sunday dinner at Lucques; my fish was overcooked and cold and I found the staff quite snobby. Having said that, I haven't been back - but I don't get the hype. And, since you've been to Craftsteak before my vote would be for something new to you like Grace. Happy birthday!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Obessed

      of those three, i'd say Grace since you've been to Craftsteak.

      presume you have been, but if you haven't, you might consider Hungry Cat too. other ideas that you don't mention would be Jar, Joe's in Venice, and Orris on Sawtelle....

    2. I haven't been to Craft, but I prefer Grace to Luques. Jar is another good suggestion on par with the others, but I still prefer Grace. With respect to Emme's other suggestions, while I enjoy lunch/brunch at Joe's I find it overpriced for the quality and disappointing for dinner. Orris definitely doesn't seem special enough for the occassion, and they don't accept reservations--personally, I would hate to wait a long time with a party of 6 on my birthday. You might also enjoy Josie or Jiraffe. But I would still pick Grace from this list. Too bad Hatfield's is closed, that would actually be my first choice.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nicole

        Thanks all, I really appreciate the honest feedback and recos. I've been to Joe's in Venice and had a similar experience that you did, Nicole. Orris has been on my list of places to try, but that's probably somewhere I'd go on a regular night. Hatfield's would've been my first choice too - too bad my birthday's on a Sun. night.

        So Grace is looking like a good option then, sounds like. Are there any other must-do restaurants that I may have missed? Thanks again!

        1. re: Nicole

          Wilshire might be another good option.

          -----
          Wilshire Restaurant
          2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

        2. I had a great meal at The Foundry on Melrose. I actually did the 5 course tasting menu w/ wine pairing. For $100pp, I thought it was a great deal. The restaurant does seem to be hit or miss though, and not consistently good. The back patio would be a great place to have a bday dinner.

          Another good option might be Comme Ca, right across from Lucques.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TailbackU

            I actually picked The Foundry for one of my birthday dinners, this one will be the day after Thanksgiving. Having your birthday around (and some years, on) Thanksgiving kind of sucks. Hopefully it will be one of The Foundry's "hit" nights. If not, it's only dinner, LOL!

          2. Craft is a really great place for groups, as the food is meant to be shared family style.

            1. Hi purediva,

              Of the 3 you listed, I would go to Craft. I found it to be the most beautiful and elegant and I enjoyed the dishes immensely. (Since you listed finding a place with a "Nice 'special' atmosphere", in addition to the "Seriously good food".)

              Regardless of where you end up, hope you have a Happy Birthday! :)

              5 Replies
              1. re: exilekiss

                I also recommend Craft, especially since (as a_and_w mentioned) the food is meant to be shared family style. The food there is excellent and it would be a great opportunity to try out many different items on the menu.

                1. re: exilekiss

                  I second that (or I realized I third it) - go with Craft. But keep in mind, it's pretty pricey. My second choice would be Lucques.

                  I'm kinda craving Craft.

                  That said, was at Palate over the weekend and had the pork folio (you really have to get it with the pickeled apples, onions, etc. followed by a chevre (goat) confit. The confit was a touch salty, but still very tasty. (I've never had goat confit before - it was interesting, fresh and yummy. ) One thing I love about Palate - the wines are smartly chosen and reasonably priced. I had a rose cremant (Alliement Laugner - or something close to that) - very nice and they sell the cremant for 20 bucks a bottle in the wine store in back. How great is that?

                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                    Hi foodiemahoodie,

                    Goat Confit! Interesting... :) This may be worth another trip over there. :) Thanks for the info.

                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                      We had the goat confit this past Saturday and it was fantastic, as was the ribe-eye. Our vegetarian friend was more than happy with the celeriac soup followed by the squash.

                      We also sampled the Domaine Allimant-Laugner Cremant D'Alsace and ended up buying three bottles of it!

                    2. re: exilekiss

                      I, too, recommend Craft ... it's one of my favorite places in LA, especially with a group. Just sent some more friends there for their first time, and they LOVED it!