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Best Chinese dinner for large group (8 - 10 ppl)?

lynnetteli3 Jan 9, 2012 05:37 PM

Hey Chowhounders! I want to sit at a round table and have a delicious authentic Chinese meal. I'm open to styles, Szechuan, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hunan, Fukien... anything is fine. I just want a really good meal for a large group of people where we can all sit around one round table and enjoy Chinese food family style. Any recommendations? I'm open to anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area... somewhere with parking would be nice! Thank you :)

  1. ipsedixit Jan 9, 2012 07:02 PM

    Sea Harbour (Rosemead), Elite (Monterey Park) or Happy Habour (Rowland Heights) would be my top 3 choices.

    1. Porthos Jan 9, 2012 11:00 PM

      I second Elite. Order yourself a 7-8 lb king crab done 2 ways. $40/Lb but delicious and in season now. You won't regret it.

      22 Replies
      1. re: Porthos
        Ciao Bob Jan 10, 2012 10:22 AM

        be careful...be really careful...ask the price first
        A few weeks ago we ordered a monster dungeness crab at Elite done 3 ways (steamed with garlic, fried with vanilla and cooked with egg) for 4 people - one of whom was (and is) visibly pregant. It was immense and the best crab any of us ever had in our lives. But the price was truly outrageous...$780 - no joke.

        1. re: Ciao Bob
          lynnetteli3 Jan 10, 2012 10:33 AM

          Thank you for the warning!

          1. re: Ciao Bob
            Porthos Jan 10, 2012 11:37 AM

            It's $40-45/lb ususally. I usually specify a 8-10lb beast. I can't imagine the size of the monster that you ordered!

            1. re: Porthos
              Porthos Jan 10, 2012 01:47 PM

              Just called Elite and the updated pricing is $58/lb due to yada yada yada reasons. It still puts that behemoth that Ciao Bob ordered at 13+ lbs!

              1. re: Porthos
                Ciao Bob Jan 10, 2012 02:40 PM


                1. re: Ciao Bob
                  Porthos Jan 10, 2012 03:27 PM

                  So people don't get the wrong idea. A 7-8lb king crab is huge and easily feeds 5-6 with maybe a couple of other dishes required. 6-8 people even if you do a few more dishes and that still allows each person to sample a leg and body portion.

                  1. re: Porthos
                    ipsedixit Jan 10, 2012 07:27 PM

                    You can have all the legs and body parts you want, just save me the roe.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      Porthos Jan 10, 2012 08:30 PM

                      I'm pretty sure female king crabs are not allowed so unfortunately, no one gets the roe...


            2. re: Ciao Bob
              ipsedixit Jan 10, 2012 07:38 PM

              Sounds like you got "whited" Bob ... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8223...

              1. re: ipsedixit
                Ciao Bob Jan 11, 2012 05:03 PM

                Whited, yes. And "riched" by association.
                Here's the thing...I have often been the guest at Elite of some wealthy Chinese businessmen who are good friends of mine; they generally take a private room and order all of the super expensive stuff. The manager at Elite who took our order knows me from this group, however, on this occasion, it was just me and 3 whitey friends. We had chosen what we wanted but she told us we really should scrap our choices because they had a super special crab, which she then hauled out of a tank to show us...ask if we wanted to take pictures of it...etc. I know that one should always ask the price of live seafood at a high end Canto joint but for a variety of reasons I did not on this occasion. It was truly the best crab I've ever had.

                1. re: Ciao Bob
                  Porthos Jan 11, 2012 06:31 PM

                  I usually only get it 2 ways. You've inspired me to do 3 ways when I go next week. I've asked them to keep it around 7-lbs though...thanks for the cautionary tale.

                  1. re: Porthos
                    Ciao Bob Jan 12, 2012 09:20 AM

                    Great, Porthos, please report back.
                    One of the luxuries of crab that big...no digging around little boney bits for sweet, juicy meat. Even the "smaller" legs were like Flo Jo's.

                    1. re: Ciao Bob
                      Porthos Jan 12, 2012 10:34 AM

                      There is no digging around with a 7-10 lb crab. Easy access to all the delcious thick leg meat and ridiculously sweet body.

                      With your 13+ lb'er you probably needed a shovel!

                    2. re: Porthos
                      js76wisco Jan 13, 2012 02:35 PM

                      What are the 3 ways they would prepare the crab? This sounds like a great idea for a group dinner.

                      1. re: js76wisco
                        Ciao Bob Jan 13, 2012 02:59 PM

                        "steamed with garlic, fried with vanilla and cooked with egg"

                    3. re: Ciao Bob
                      ipsedixit Jan 11, 2012 07:13 PM

                      We always ask for the weight, be it crab, fish, lobster or even something like geoduck.

                      One time we ordered fresh fish that turned out to be 55/pound, and it was a 9+ pounder. Never weighed before it was cooked and prepped. My uncle threw such a tissy-fit when the bill came that he wanted every single fish in the tank weighed for us just to prove that our fish could not have been 9 pounds.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        raytamsgv Jan 12, 2012 11:39 AM

                        What was the final determination of the weight of the fish?

                        1. re: raytamsgv
                          ipsedixit Jan 12, 2012 08:12 PM

                          What the restaurant claimed it was.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            Porthos Jan 12, 2012 08:55 PM

                            At $55/Lb that fish was a coral trout? I don't think I've seen a coral trout at 9-lbs...maybe ipse was "whited"?

                            1. re: Porthos
                              ipsedixit Jan 12, 2012 08:57 PM

                              At $55/Lb that fish was a coral trout? I don't think I've seen a coral trout at 9-lbs...maybe ipse was "whited"?

                              Hmm, where did I say it was a coral trout?

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                Porthos Jan 12, 2012 09:09 PM

                                What other fish costs $55/Lb?

                                1. re: Porthos
                                  ipsedixit Jan 12, 2012 09:17 PM

                                  That's what we wanted to know ... coral trout, or otherwise.

              2. Chandavkl Jan 10, 2012 10:00 AM

                Just to assure you that it's not a matter of lack of interest in your question, but I agree 100 percent with Ipse and Porthos, as would many other potential posters. Note that the restaurants mentioned are all Hong Kong style, as are most of the really sizable Chinese venues. And there is almost no Fukien style food in the Los Angeles area.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chandavkl
                  lynnetteli3 Jan 10, 2012 10:35 AM

                  It's too bad... My family is Fukien, and while we haven't lived in China for a long time, I'm always searching for my food roots...

                  1. re: lynnetteli3
                    Chandavkl Jan 10, 2012 02:40 PM

                    The only true sources of Fuzhou food in the L.A. area I can think of are the touristy Foo Chow Restaurant in Chinatown and Liu Xiang Yuan in San Gabriel. Fuzhou style fish balls have become quite popular in the past two or three years, though and are commonly available.

                2. l
                  lynnetteli3 Jan 10, 2012 10:34 AM

                  Thank you for the responses! I know they don't take reservations, but should it be a problem to get in on a Thursday evening just past Chinese New Year time?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lynnetteli3
                    raytamsgv Jan 10, 2012 02:41 PM

                    I know that Elite takes reservations. I called at 830 AM on Christmas day for a dinner reservation that same evening. But unlike Ciao Bob, I wasn't able to afford a $780 crab dinner. :-(

                    BTW, I made the reservation in English instead of Cantonese that time--no problems were encountered.

                    1. re: raytamsgv
                      ipsedixit Jan 10, 2012 07:28 PM

                      Like, ray said, make reservations.

                  2. j
                    JThur01 Jan 10, 2012 11:11 AM

                    It isn't as likely to get as much mention here, but there are Sichuan and Hunan places that could accommodate a group of 8-10.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JThur01
                      lynnetteli3 Jan 10, 2012 11:18 AM

                      do you have suggestions?

                      1. re: lynnetteli3
                        JThur01 Jan 10, 2012 06:36 PM

                        For Sichuan: Shu Feng, Taste of Chong Qing or Yunkun Garden, for Hunan: Hunan Chilli King and Hunan Seafood (with more than seafood). Xiang Wei Lou is another Hunan place, but it's small - in other words they only have room for one large table with a lazy susan. XWL has a much smaller menu than Hunan Chilli King or Hunan Seafood, which have huge ones.

                        1. re: JThur01
                          JThur01 Jan 11, 2012 09:09 AM

                          Hunan's Restaurant a.k.a. Hunan Style also has a large menu and a couple of large tables.

                          For these places, just make sure to call, and to make a reservation to be on the safe side.

                    2. h
                      hae818 Jan 10, 2012 11:22 AM


                      Have you looked into Newport Tan Cang Seafood? If you go before 4:45 you can get their great lunch specials and there will be no wait. Go after 6:30 and you will wait.

                      For Szechuan, I always like Chung King. Their spicy cold chicken is a favorite of mine. They have two locations. The Monterey one is smaller but I went with 8 people and we managed by adding two round tables together.

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