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Looking for suggestions for a small group of guys

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Greetings, I'm new to the community and I've spent some time searching under various headings; feeling like I'm not finding what I was after, I thought I would tap the collective wisdom.

I recently hosted a dinner for about fifteen guys at the Arroyo Chop House and I'm looking for a venue of the same caliber for our next evening, but it doesn't have to be a steak house. Our budget is $250 a head, including wine and a nice tip and we order off of the menu.

The back story: I'm 49 and I work with a bunch of guys in their late 20's-early 30's. I noticed one guy asking a woman out via text. Another stopped by the station on his way to a wedding, wearing a polo shirt, nice jeans and white tennis shoes. None of them had ever written a thank-you note. Few of them own a suit. I challenged them to step up their game and be gentlemen. From that, spawned our dinner group and I implemented a dress code and a steep budget to weed out the less than serious. Each dinner centers on the camaraderie and food, but I've also brought in people to talk to them about how to order wine or write a thank-you note. For all but one of them, it was the first time they had worn a suit or jacket to something other than a wedding or a funeral and they loved it and what I was trying to do.

I've looked at a lot of places, from Cut and BOA to the chains like Ruth's Chris. Does anyone have any suggestions for a group of guys? Is a steakhouse the way to go? I'd be grateful for any suggestions.
Thanks in advance, Kevin

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Arroyo Chop House
536 S Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA 91105

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  1. my knee jerk reaction when i hear "group of guys" is FOGO DE CHAO

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      Great suggestions! Thanks for the input; these are places I wouldn't have thought of. Water Grill sounds interesting, I'll check it out.

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      Water Grill
      544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

    2. Here are some suggestions:

      1. Lawry's - Prime Rib - 100 N. La Cienega Blvd.; Beverly Hills
      2. The Palm - Steak & Seafood - 9001 Santa Monica Blvd.; West Hollywood
      3. Pacific Dining Car - Steak - 1310 W. Sixth Street; Downtown
      4. Water Grill - Seafood - 544 S. Grand Ave.; Downtown
      5. Morton's - Steak - various locations; 435 S. La Cienega Blvd.; Beverly Hills

      2 Replies
      1. re: omakase

        I also agree with Westsidegals's suggestion - Fogo de Chao

        1. re: omakase

          A third vote for the all you can eat steak paradise Fogo de Chao Beverly Hills. (also home of LA's best salad bar). Wonderful service in a classy setting, your plate will never be empty.
          http://www.fogodechao.com/

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          Fogo De Chao
          133 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

      2. Maestros pops into my mind. Catch at Casa del Mar, also. Melisse if you really want hard core training for them. Valentino would be another idea.

        1. You did a steak house, why do another one. It seems like you are trying to push these guys beyond their comfort zone and trying to make them a bit more worldly. So go global. I would assume that most of these guys have had sushi, but have they had great sushi, eaten in a traditional way? No wasabi mixed in to the soy, no California rolls... Then you can branch out, more traditional French, Moroccan minus the belly dancers (Chameau comes to mind), higher end Vietnamese (Brodard Chateau)...

          Unfortunately, I don't get up into LA too often these days, so I can't point you to the more authentic experiences that are top notch, but with your budget, you can go just about anywhere and have a great meal. Limiting yourself to steak seems so... unrefined.

          -----
          Chameau Restaurant
          339 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          Brodard Chateau
          9100 Trask Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

          3 Replies
          1. re: ocshooter

            OCshooter & Yogachik, I'm thinking along the same lines. I was thinking Catch or Water Grill (seafood is so foreign to some of them) as omakase suggested or traditional French. I've had good experienced at the other Bouchons, but the reviews for BH were steering me away. I'll check out Chameau and Brodard. Thanks again, the suggestons are really appreciated.

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            Water Grill
            544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

            Chameau Restaurant
            339 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

            Brodard Restaurant
            9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

            1. re: lapresle

              Alas, Chameau is no more--at least as a Moroccan restaurant (it is now a deli): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692492

              I have not been in a while but Tagine might make a good substitute if you are keen on Moroccan sans belly dancing.

              Also, note that Brodard Chateau and Brodard restaurant, while owned by the same family, are very different. The Chateau is much fancier (but still fairly reasonable).

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              Tagine
              132 N Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

              1. re: New Trial

                Too bad about Chameau, it was enjoyable for the cuisine, as opposed to the floor show. Between the Brodards, only go to the Chateau. The options are far more upscale as is the setting. You would look very out of place at the other Brodard, thought the food is excellent, and you would have a very hard time spending $50 a head, let alone $250. I don't recall the Chateau's wine list, but with the French tradition in modern Vietnamese cooking, there should be a decent bottle or two on the list.

                I was remiss to point out the old guard in LA. Water Grill was fantastic when I went ages back, and I would recommend it still based on reviews I have seen, but what about Spago? Just because it has become a brand in and of itself, does not mean it is not worthwhile. As is Chinois on Main. Another Michelin Star option in LA is Saddle Peak Lodge for game alternatives to standard meat and potatoes. Wild boar, venison, heritage birds and free range buffalo would be miles ahead of the shrink wrapped meats most Americans are used to consuming.

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                Water Grill
                544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                Spago
                176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                Saddle Peak Lodge
                419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

                Chameau Restaurant
                339 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                Brodard Restaurant
                9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

                Chinois
                2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          2. Good for you! Teaching the lads a thing or two about the lost art of social graces...

            At $250 a head, and a party of 15, in this economy, I would expect restaurants bending over backwards to attract your business. I'm sure you already know this, but wherever you choose to go, make sure you make reservations for this large a party comprised of hungry gentlemen.

            Having said that, I believe the gentlemen may enjoy Providence or Melisse, though I find the cooking at Bistro LQ to be even more exciting these days.

            No one else in the room (except tourists) will probably be wearing suits at Fogo de Chao, though it does have great meat & salad - Not sure if that's a great venue for your second outing.

            Hotel dining is usually upscale: The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel on Doheny, and The Belvedere at The Peninsula may all fit the bill.

            Mastro's (not spelled Maestros) in Beverly Hills would be a perfect pick, if you all want to indulge in another steak house (and it's much better than Arroyo Chop House). Get the bone-in filet or bone-in ribeye, the lobster mashed potatoes, and the seafood tower. Fantastic food & service.

            And the last time I went to Mastro's, Sidney Poitier himself, dapper in a bespoke suit, helped open the door for my wife & I, us all having reached the restaurant entrance at the same time - What a perfect gentleman. Maybe that's why Mastro's was my first thought when you presented your predicament.

            Down the street, another very worthy steak house is Wolfgang's Steakhouse. Think of it as Peter Luger West. Best cut there: Porterhouse.

            A word about tipping: For a party of 15, the tip is usually included on the bill. Read your bill carefully to avoid any unintentional overtipping.

            Suits abound Downtown in the Financial and Legal district. Try Chaya Downtown or Drago Centro for some great food and spirits.

            Good luck with your endeavor, and please report back!

            -----
            Four Seasons Hotel
            300 S Doheny Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Beverly Hills Hotel
            9641 W Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

            Wolfgang's Steakhouse
            445 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

            Drago Centro
            525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

            Bistro LQ
            8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Mastros Restaurant
            2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

            Chaya Downtown
            525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

            1 Reply
            1. re: J.L.

              I agree with you J.L. I love FdC but not for this group of classy, high-rollers.
              My picks would be:
              Mastro's
              Scarpetta
              Spago
              Providence
              Saam or Bazaar
              Water Grill
              Osteria Mozza
              Madeo
              Might even consider Lukshon

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              Water Grill
              544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

              Spago
              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              Madeo Restaurant
              8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

              Mastros Restaurant
              2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

              Osteria Mozza
              6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              Scarpetta
              225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              Lukshon
              3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

            2. Do something similar. In addition to fogo we go to peppone's, solstice, boa and via veneto

              1. Wow! I have to say thanks to the people that took the time to reply. This is my first time on Chow and I wasn't sure if I'd get any responses. Thanks for offering so many great ideas. I'll let you know what we do. At our last gathering, Patrick from Arroyo Chop House put together a 3 page primer on ordering wine, sending back, deciphering a wine list, etiquette... It was great as none of these guys had the slightest idea what to do. A couple of them boned up on their notes before dates and it was so gratifying to see the light come on and see their confidence.

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                Arroyo Chop House
                536 S Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA 91105