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Authentic Chinese banquet/rehearsal dinner for 30? MD or VA

EastWest Feb 4, 2009 06:33 AM

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?

Thank you!!

  1. d
    dining with doc Feb 5, 2009 07:17 AM

    New Fortune in Gaithersburg
    Paul Kee, Holywood East on the Boulevard, and Good Fortune in Wheaton
    Fu Shin in Gaithersburg
    all are large enough with good food

    1. e
      EastWest Feb 5, 2009 06:34 AM

      Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions--we will investigate each.
      Does anyone have opinions on Sichuan Pavilion on K St in DC? I came across that in my searches.
      Also, we'll be sure to try Grace Garden for ourselves just because it sounds amazing.
      Thanks again!

      1. e
        Ericandblueboy Feb 5, 2009 05:33 AM

        http://www.northchinabethesda.com/index.cfm (Taiwanese


        http://sevenseasrestaurant.com/news.php (Cantonese


        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.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ericandblueboy
          flavrmeistr Feb 5, 2009 06:15 AM

          Every time I've been to Seven Seas, there was always a monster Chinese wedding banquet going on. They would put up screens and sequester the walk-in patrons at a few tables along the wall. I've seen them handle crowds of at least 200. They all seemed deliriously happy.

          1. re: Ericandblueboy
            DanielK Feb 5, 2009 06:26 AM

            Seven Seas is also a good suggestion, but since they are seafood-heavy, that budget will be problematic.

            North China is far far too small to handle a 30-40 person party.

            Though I do like both places...

          2. c
            Chownut Feb 4, 2009 11:13 AM

            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.

            1. DanielK Feb 4, 2009 10:14 AM

              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.

              1. s
                Steve Feb 4, 2009 08:40 AM

                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.


                5 Replies
                1. re: Steve
                  Ericandblueboy Feb 4, 2009 08:58 AM

                  You will lose face bringing Taiwanese guests to a hole in the wall.

                  1. re: Ericandblueboy
                    dpan Feb 4, 2009 09:41 AM

                    Ericandblueboy is right, that alone would be a deal breaker for Grace Garden, unfortunately. I think with a party that size, you're left with the bigger restaurants or banquet type places.

                    1. re: dpan
                      weezycom Feb 4, 2009 11:21 AM

                      Could you use a church hall and have Grace Garden cater it?

                      1. re: weezycom
                        chowser Feb 5, 2009 08:04 AM

                        Chinese food doesn't hold well. It needs to be served immediately, and doing a catered banquet would even worst.

                  2. re: Steve
                    flavrmeistr Feb 4, 2009 09:31 AM

                    Grace Garden is awesome, but they only have maybe 3 tables. Not sure if they could handle more than a dozen people at a time. The food is great, though. How about Peking House in Germantown, MD? Haven't been there yet, but it sounds like a serious place.

                  3. Dennis S Feb 4, 2009 08:37 AM

                    I think both Good Fortune and Hollywood East have banquet space. The plus when comparing them is that they're across the road from each other in Wheaton.

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