Authentic Chinese banquet/rehearsal dinner for 30? MD or VA
There are a few similar posts recently, but my situation is a little different:
We're entertaining the idea of having a rehearsal dinner of about 30-40 people (likely 30) in late May in the DC area. Guests will be staying in Alexandria, VA and Laurel, MD, so location is flexible.
My family is Taiwanese; my parents are excellent cooks. It's rare for us to find a Chinese restaurant that is satisfying enough. So not only should the place be authentic, it has to be GOOD. A few relatives will be here directly from Taiwan. (It does not have to be Taiwanese, although that's a bonus.) My fiance's family is American and very agreeable. : )
I'm not from the DC area, so I don't know the scene. (in NY)
I'd love any suggestions and have time to check it out. In terms of price, I'm assuming the fluctuations wouldn't be too great? I don't know the standard, but could we cover three tables (of 10) for around $1000?
Well, you asked on the right website, but i am not so sure you will like the answer.
For food considerations alone, I will say Grace Garden in Odenton, MD. The only problem is do not expect elegant surroundings. it is located across from an army base in a run down strip of shops including bars, tattoo parlors, and the like. But the food is exceptional.
A group of eleven of us had a wonderful meal there a few weeks back. Some dishes that are on the menu take 2 days notice, plus there are dishes which do not apear on any menu, you just have to ask.
If you are interested, please follow the link below.
New Fortune in Gaithersburg can easily handle a table for 30 - that place must seat 400 people. Banquets, weddings, etc. going on there all the time. Negative is that it's not really near Alexandria or Laurel, but it is right off the highway.
Hollywood East Cafe is also a good option. Reasonably close to Laurel, but not so much to Alexandria. But 30 people is a good amount of their space, and you won't have a private room.
At $1000 for 30 people, you're looking at about $25/pp plus tax/tip. I think that's probably tight, but doable at either place. You will probably be minimizing seafood and expensive ingredients at this price.
I've held authentic Chinese (Cantonese) banquets with wedding banquet type of food at both Good Fortune and China Chef. Both places offer great Chinese fare, but are a bit run down, with China Chef being worse.
Food was great though, but I don't know what type of food you're planning to serve to match the Taiwanese, and of course, Caucasian palate. (Your fiance's family is Caucasian, not just "American.").
Based on my experience, an authentic banquet will cost you at least $750-800 /table without liquor.
If decor and ambiance is important, consider also China Garden (Rosslyn). They are mostly americanized in terms of the fare they serve for dinner, but they do a lot of banquet business, and can easily make whatever you wish.
Have your parents call up the restaurants and see if they can work out a menu for the party. 7 Seas has set menus at different prices but I'm sure they're willing to customize.
DC has restaurants that are considered good by expats but nothing that's going to wow someome from Taiwan, or visits Taiwan, or even LA, on a regular basis.
Pricing here is probably higher than NYC.