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Oct 26, 2011 07:10 PM

Business Holiday Party recommendations?

Hey Hounds,

I've been given the job of finding a restaurant for a group of 20 Japanese Americans for this year's office holiday party. Last year, they went to Spago's and had a great time, but said it was too far away. I'm looking for something in the Downtown or Pasadena areas. Budget is $2500.

I've gone through the boards and put together a list, and I'd like your help narrowing it down, since I haven't been to most of these places. What would you add, eliminate, or highlight?

Thanks a lot!


Patina Restaurant 213 972-3331 - 141 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Water Grill 544 South Grand, 90071 Tel. 213-891-0900

Church & State
1850 Industrial St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 405-1434

Drago Centro
525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (213) 228-8998

525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015 213 743 8824

Roy's Restaurant
Pan-Asian/Pacific Rim, Hawaiian fusion
800 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

La Grande Orange Cafe
260 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

Barbrix (323) 662-2442 - 2442 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Element's Kitchen

Vertical Wine Bistro

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  1. does your budget include room charge, service charge, beverages, and gratuity?
    (yes, much to my surprise, when i last arranged a private party meal, the catering guy informed me that the service charge was NOT the gratuity and that it was NOT passed on to the waitstaff.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      $2500 is the total budget, including tax, tags, freight, security, roaming, and universal access

    2. If you're willing to travel to about the Royce at the Langham? Very good food....lovely space.
      Also...Drago Centro is a very good place. Terrific food.....very good service.
      I love Barbrix...but think it may be a little too casual, if you did Spago last year and loved it.

      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

      The Royce at the Langham
      1401 S Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106

      1 Reply
      1. re: perk

        Thank you. I've never heard of The Royce. Warrants looking into!

      2. A $125 a head, Water Grill is probably too expensive and Roy's is not in the same class (and a lot less expensive) as most of the others, though I do like it. Patina is a beautiful spot, and they can probably do dinner and wine for that budget.

        Water Grill
        544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

        2 Replies
        1. re: ocshooter

          Yes, I would totally eliminate Roys -- the food is mediocre compared to what you have on your list. I would also eliminate Church and State only because the space isn't very office gathering-ish and it's super loud in there. Barbrix is also one of the loudest restaurants i've ever been in and doesn't seem very office appropriate with the space. Drago Centro is definitely classy compared to those two places. Too bad Watergrill may be too $$$ b/c that would be a nice choice.

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

        2. After calling around, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the Watergrill was willing to work with us within our budget. We were able to get a special deal because we held our party mid-week and before the rush of December parties began. We settled on Wednesday, Nov 23rd.

          Alison was the manager who helped us, and she did an excellent job from start to finish. She was pleasant, easy to get ahold of, and attentive to our needs. The night of the party she was right there to make sure everything went smoothly.

          Here was the menu:

          White Chowder with Manila Clams
          Fingerling potatoes, apple wood smoked bacon
          Wild Fijian Big Eye Tuna Tartar
          Thai red chili and green papaya
          Colorado Catch Striped Bass
          Sautéed with Whale Cove black mussels, fennel ragout, and “chorizo” foam
          Hook and Line Caught Morro Bay Swordfish
          Grilled with watercress puree, Israeli cous cous, braised fennel, butternut squash, and fig
          Gulf of Maine Lobster
          Steamed with market vegetables, and bacon chive biscuits
          8oz Beef Tenderloin
          Grilled with hand-cut French fries, and watercress salad
          Red Velvet Cake
          Cocoa nib streusel, raspberry and mascarpone ice cream
          Sorbet Assortment
          Mango, strawberry, and Greek yogurt with poached pineapple

          True to Watergrill expectations, all of the food was superlative. Of particular note were the appetizers. A choice between clam chowder and tuna tartar sounds pretty darn pedestrian, but the execution was jaw dropping. Both were favorites of the evening. The clam chowder in particular was downright magical. It literally brought tears to my eyes; it was that freakishly good. My wife was jealous, so she swapped her tartar with me, but I could hardly complain because that was amazing as well, exotically layered with flavor.

          The service was welcoming, friendly, and on point. The wine flowed all evening and a wonderful time was had by all!

          1 Reply