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Narrowed it down -- which would you pick?

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Thanks so much to everyone who provided input on my other thread about my company party. So we've narrowed it down to the following:

Perbacco
Restaurant LuLu
Farallon
Boulevard
Michael Mina (though we're still waiting to confirm capacity there)

In a second tier of consideration are:

Chaya
E & O Trading

If you had to pick a restaurant to have a party for 130 - 150 people, which would you pick?

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Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Farallon
450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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  1. I don't know much about the rest, but I had a company event at Perbacco this week and it was fantastic. There were about 80 people there. The food was excellent, the service was flawless - highly recommended.

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    Perbacco
    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    1 Reply
    1. re: morningbun

      Second on Perbacco.

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      Perbacco
      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    2. I'd skip Boulevard. IMO it's over-rated and over priced.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nopa

        I've never been a fan of Blvd since the get go. Very nice, beautiful room...but the food always missed for me. I never "got" Boulevard.

      2. Same for E&O corporate and generic Asian fusion.

        1. Wow, I had to find your other link to see if Chowhounds really recommended some of those places. If you want to have your company party at a soulless chain, go to E & O Trading.

          Probably too many years to count, but went to a company event at Chaya and it was totally underwhelming. Nearby Boulevard would be the better choice.

          I haven't been to Perbacco, but everything I've read on these boards leads me to think that would be the best choice.

          Farralon never really gets raves here. It's kind of gimicky and at this point in time I have to think the gimmick is old. I never went to an event there, but my one diner many years ago when it was still a relatively hot restaurant, never inspired me ever to return.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rworange

            No, not all recommended by 'hounds! Some were picked by others in my company, some were picked based on size and proximity to hotels. There aren't that many good restaurants that can handle 150 people.

            Perbacco is my 1st choice.

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            Perbacco
            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            1. re: TorontoJo

              I will be the dissenter on those who think Farallon is not a good choice. They sloped downwards several years ago but I think they have rebounded nicely and are serving exceptional seafood. I also think the setting would lend itself to a great party!

              The question would be more towards your 130 to 150 guests: Would they all want seafood? Because that is Farallon's strength and if you have 10% or 15% who will want a more traditional protein (steak or chicken), than Farallon is not the choice you want.

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              Farallon
              450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          2. I would chose between Perbacco and Boulevard. I think Perbacco may be better for your specific purpose; also likely to be less expensive.

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            Perbacco
            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            1. Perbacco. No question.

              I did LuLu with a group and HATED it (very, very noisy, uncomfortable, food only ok to good, and IIRC they seat more than the size of your group and private areas aren't really private. So unless you are talking about a buyout...). Chaya is definitely not in the same tier though it isn't bad. I haven't been to E and O or Farallon, though as someone else mentions I'd have concerns doing a party at a place that specializes in seafood.

              I also suspect Boulevard will be more expensive than Perbacco. Also, since you aren't here locally, I am not sure if you can check out the space, but be aware that at Boulevard some of the large groups are put in a room that is downstairs in the basement. Again, unless you are talking buyout I don't think you'd be in the (lovely) main room, and should thus ignore everything you've read on CH about the great counter area, the nice room or the view of the bay bridge; that wouldn't be where I think your group would end up. Certainly something to ask about.

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              Perbacco
              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

              Farallon
              450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

              3 Replies
              1. re: susancinsf

                Good point about that room downstairs at Boulevard.

                One good point about Farralon is that it is right in Union Square. If the food has improved, so much the better. I'm sure you looked at the current menu, but if not here it is. There are three solid looking meat dishes, but zero in the way of vegetarian should that be a requirement.I'm sure they could do something though for a group that large for the veggie group.
                http://www.farallonrestaurant.com/men...

                One thing to keep in mind ... despite a rec by someone whose food taste is solid. This is group dining. So the menu choices are going to run to something like the simpler chow they offer for the local restaurant week. That was when I went a while back, and at this place, simple was not their forte. It was boring and overpriced. Hopefully the large group dining is better as well currently.

                1. re: rworange

                  I've been to huge cocktail parties at Farallon and they do a very good job. So if the kitchen is better than ever, a large dinner party would probably work well. And it's a spectacular setting, so would be memorable.

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                  Farallon
                  450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  1. re: rworange

                    I really like Farallon, both the interior and the food, and it's a little less pricey than Waterbar. However, the one time I went there for a corporate dinner, I was disappointed. We were in one of their private dining rooms in a different part of the building. The room was pretty bland and the food pretty standard large group fare. ("For your entree, would you like the steak or the salmon?") If I didn't know that I was at Farallon, I would never have guessed it based on the food or the ambience.

                    As for Boulevard, you wouldn't want to split up a large group between the main dining room and the basement. The people in the basement would feel like second-class citizens an elevator ride away from the rest. Might as well be in different restaurants. (Splitting people between upstairs and downstairs at Perbacco doesn't have that issue to the same extent.)
                    Having said that, the only time that I've ever had a somewhat memorable dish at a private event was in the basement at Boulevard. I think the year was 1996.

                2. Farallon no.
                  Perbacco yes.
                  I don't "get" Boulevard either. Tho it is beautiful.

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                  Perbacco
                  230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Farallon
                  450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  1. Just attended a private event at Bix -- the company bought out the restaurant. Very nice food and live music. Perhaps you should consider it.

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                    Bix
                    56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: mrs bacon

                      ohhhh Bix. Great place, great fries.

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                      Bix
                      56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

                      1. re: mrs bacon

                        I think someone concluded on TorontoJo's other thread that Bix wasn't large enough. I'd go with Perbacco.

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                        Perbacco
                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                        Bix
                        56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

                        1. re: bobpantzer

                          Bix is also similar in ambiance and menu to No 5 Park in Boston, where they'd had a previous event.

                          -----
                          Bix
                          56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

                          1. re: bobpantzer

                            Bix can fit up to 100 people for a sit-down dinner according to their website. So 150 would seem out of the question unless it's just a standing reception.
                            http://www.bixrestaurant.com/parties....

                          2. re: mrs bacon

                            Thank you so much, everyone! Yes, Bix was actually at the top of my list because I love the ambiance. Sadly, they can only do 100 seated and 125 standing.

                            We are looking at buyouts for all of the restaurants I've listed, except E&O, which is really off my list.

                            I have a couple of colleagues who are local to SF and will be doing a tasting at Perbacco soon, and probably Farallon and one or two others. Price is generally no object for this event, so if Boulevard got a lot of raves, I would send them there, but my personal experience and that of those here really have turned me off of it as an option.

                            And I totally acknowledge that a dinner for 150 will likely not blow anyone's socks off, but I figure the better a restaurant is in normal circumstances, the better the chance we have of having a better than average dinner. If the atmosphere is good, the service is excellent, the food at least "good" and the wine keeps flowing, i figure that dinner can only be considered a success!

                            -----
                            Perbacco
                            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                            Farallon
                            450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                            Bix
                            56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

                          3. Just an update for everyone who has been kind enough to help out: my colleagues did a tasting at both Perbacco and One Market and Perbacco beat One Market, hands down, from both a food and service perspective. While One Market has a better/larger space for a group our size, we are almost definitely going with Perbacco for the food and service aspect.

                            On a side note, one of my colleagues is vegetarian, though she didn't inform Perbacco in advance (she was just going to pass on the meat dishes). But once they found out, they immediately prepared a vegetarian main course for her that she said was fantastic. So kudos to the kitchen for being fast and flexible!

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                            Perbacco
                            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                            One Market Restaurant
                            1 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              Provided that the space at Perbacco fits your needs, I would say that's a good call. One Market is a solid restaurant with very good food, but I rarely get excited about it. The food at Perbacco, on the other hand, is fantastic.

                            2. Just a quick update -- bad news and good news. My CEO didn't like the split-level situation at Perbacco, so he nixed it. :(

                              But it turns out that Michael Mina is able to accommodate us after all, so we are officially booked there! I'm quite happy. My colleagues reported that the tasting was spectacular, so everyone is happy. :)

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                              Perbacco
                              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                Yay!

                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                  Thanks for the update. Be sure to report back on how it went.

                                2. Just wanted to report back on our dinner party at Michael Mina this past weekend. We did a full buy out for Saturday night (and can I just say it amazes me how many people tried to crash and get free booze?). There ended up being almost exactly 100 people and we filled the space comfortably without being crowded.

                                  We started with passed hors d'oeuvres, which were all excellent: arancini with pork of some sort, mini falafel balls with sliced lambed, lobster and shrimp corn dogs, tuna tartar, caviar, and perhaps one more that I can't recall.

                                  The sit down portion of dinner was four courses:

                                  - a compressed melon plate with grilled figs, pistachios, goat cheese fritters, proscuitto and a balsamic reduction

                                  - pan-seared dayboat scallops with a vadouvan curry sauce, black rice and nantes carrots

                                  - duck breast with a foie gras torchon, and some lovely pickled fruits and veggies (pluots and turnips)

                                  - roasted filet of beef with braised short rib, chanterelles and a smear of yukon gold puree

                                  Each course was excellent and remarkably managed to be served hot (except the salad course, of course). The flavor profile of each dish was totally different and the wine pairings were universally declared to be outstanding -- especially the 2005 Paradigm cabernet sauvignon they served with the beef course.

                                  Desserts were passed and they were spectacular. Probably my favorite part of the whole dinner was this amazing chocolate and honey "lozenge". Glorious. I think I ate half a dozen of them. :)

                                  I'm guessing that the main course dishes they served may not have been as stunningly creative as their normal menu. But for a group dinner where they had to serve 100 people the same thing at the same time, we were all totally impressed. And a huge shout out for the service at Michael Mina. It was incredibly professional and accommodating. They had a huge number of staff for the night and everyone kept things flowing smoothly.

                                  So the bottom line was that it was a fantastic evening and I can't recommend them enough for a group event.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                    Yay! Thanks for writing up the report!

                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      Thanks so much for reporting back. Would it be rude to ask how much that cost?

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        I don't have the final number yet, but I'll report back when I do.

                                      2. re: TorontoJo

                                        Such a great report I wanted to make sure there was a link to the restuarant record. Thanks

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                                        Michael Mina Restaurant
                                        252 California St, San Francisco, CA

                                      3. Had my rehearsal dinner for 45 people at Perbacco and they did a great job - greaet food and service. However, the upstairs room we were in did not have the "atmosphere" and beautiful decor of Farallon or Blvd. I would consider if this is important to the party.

                                        -----
                                        Perbacco
                                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                        Farallon
                                        450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102