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Chinese for an anniversary banquet

My husband and I are looking for suggestions for a Chinese banquet for my in-laws anniversary party. We live in Sherman Oaks and are willing to go from the valley to the Westside to Downtown. There are going to be about 10 of us. We have a reservation at Empress Pavillion, but are open to other suggestions.

Does anyone have experience with Empress Pavillion banquets?

Thanks.

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  1. Don't do Empress Pavilion.

    Venture out to SGV, and try either Elite, Sea Harbour or Empress Harbour.

    17 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Chinatown Empress Pavillion is alright, but I'd choose Full House Seafood over EP.

      If you're going to SGV add Lunasia to the list. SGV is only 10-15 minutes further than Chinatown and worth the extra time and parking convenience.

      Don't go with the listed banquet menu's, select what you want and you'll be happier and it will work out to be cheaper.

      1. re: monku

        Don't go with the listed banquet menu's, select what you want and you'll be happier and it will work out to be cheaper.
        ______________________________

        It won't be cheaper.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Spoken from years of experience it is.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Perfect example is the Empress Pavillion.
              20 years ago had our wedding reception there and negotiated a menu for $200/table including tax and tip for 200 people (Cash).

              My experience is banquet menus have about 2 or 3 items most people don't appreciate.

              OP has 10 people, they select maybe 8-10 regular sized dishes.

              1. re: monku

                There are items on the banquet menus not available on the regular dinner menus. This is esp. true at Sea Harbour and Ocean Star.

                You can also sub out any dishes you don't want with ones you do want, or simply have less dishes and then negotiate directly from there.

                The more tables you have, the greater the negotiating leeway and the greater the savings.

                We've priced it out many times, and have always come out ahead with a set banquet menu.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  You can also sub out any dishes you don't want with ones you do want, or simply have less dishes and then negotiate directly from there.
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                  Of course, but then it isn't the "set banquet menu" anymore.

                  Your experience vs my experience.
                  Can work both ways (set banquet menu or à la carte).
                  Depends on what you want.

                2. re: monku

                  Forgot to add, that $200/table included the corkage (we supplied our own wine and champagne and cake service (we supplied our own cake).

                  1. re: monku

                    I don't think I've ever been charged corkage at a Chinese restaurant.

                    But, like I said up above, we've priced it out and a banquet menu is always the better bargain.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I don't think I've ever been charged corkage at a Chinese restaurant.

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                      You're saying you show up with wine and champagne for 200 people and don't expect to pay a corkage?

                      Banquet menu isn't a bargain if 2-3 items are "fillers" that no one eats. I've been to many banquets and when it comes to leftovers you know which ones people don't like and you're paying for them....that's no bargain.

                      1. re: monku

                        Yup. Never paid a corkage. Just tipped well, but no corkage. Ever.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          When I was a kid going to NYC Chinatown, "no corkage" was my dad showing up with a paper bag of scotch.

                          1. re: monku

                            My grandfather (RIP) considered "no corkage" when he shared with the front of the house.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Question: 45+ years ago was there such a thing as "corkage"?

                              1. re: monku

                                Some would say 45+ years later, there should be no such thing as corkage.

                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                "My grandfather (RIP) considered "no corkage" when he shared with the front of the house."

                                A relative of mine does that to this day (basically pouring a small glass for the pit boss/general manager while schmoozing), and that's his secret to no corkage.

                            2. re: ipsedixit

                              Sea Harbor charges $15 or $20 per bottle corkage as of last year. Pretty ballsy considering they don't even have proper stemware. I was tipping 20-25% there on a regular basis (even for dim sum). They even added a 20% service charge for Chinese New Year dinner 2010 after an unacceptable service and front of house issue.

                              In comparison, Elite did not charge corkage or charge 20% service charge for Chinese New Year dinner 2011...and got me an 8-lb king crab without any problems on a few hours notice.

          1. The SGV is just a few minutes farther. Parking is better. It's generally cleaner. Food selection is better, too.