Business Holiday Party recommendations?
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 www.watergrill.com
Church & State
1850 Industrial St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
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
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
Vertical Wine Bistro
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.)
If you're willing to travel to Pasadena....how 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
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.
544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071
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.
525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071
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
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!