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Feb 25, 2012 10:09 PM

Birthday dinner with 5 friends Santa Monica/westside--my treat, not too noisy, moderate price

Date is March 18 which is a Sunday night--gives me a bit of time to plan.

Small plates or izakaya--

There are 6 of us, all (ahem) 50+. Musha was great--been there several times. Upstairs 2 would be great I think (never been) but they are closed on Sunday nights. Orris was a favorite--sadly, they are now a spaghetti house(!!)

Robata-Ya--haven't been there in a while, but I like it. Am leaning toward it. Has anybody been there recently? Nanbankan is better -- but have been there too often recently. Never been to Bar Hayama but it doesn't look like they take reservations.

Thought of Blue Stove in Nordstrom--but they close at 8 on Sunday. I guess that would be okay if we start early. I've heard good things lately. Is this okay for a birthday? Just looked inside it when they opened.

Tar & Roses seems like fun but very noisy (if I can get in) unless we get there early. Anybody been? Rustic Canyon is around the corner from where I live but it is so noisy I never go there--do go to Huckleberry but get my food to go.

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (Venice) sounds fabulous but will it be open in March? Gjelina is great and have been there several times but too crowded for my taste.

Thought of prix fixe menu at Koutoubia, actually--a place I've never been. The Moroccan decor would be fun. Somebody on CH raved about it, but there are some really weird negative reviews talking about the owner on Yelp FWIW.

Any ideas please? About $40/person for food is what I'm thinking since I'm treating. We're not big drinkers by the way. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Picca is a possibility--very good modern Peruvian small plates. I also really enjoyed my meal at Tar & Roses and did not find it all that noisy.

    9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

    1. I like the food very much at Blue Stove but the setting isn't right for a birthday celebration. Too many tired shoppers with with tired children in tow.

      1. Bar Hayama is a great idea, and I also wouldn't discount the new incarnation of Orris. Have you looked at the menu? Also consider Cerveteca, next to Venice Wines.

        3 Replies
        1. re: yogachik

          I'd actually be pretty upset if someone took me to Spaghetti House for my b-day. I loved Orris the 2 times I went there and found its replacement to be fairly disappointing. The salads were very bitter (they both featured quite a bit of endive) and the spaghetti (mushroom + mustard green) was enjoyable but nothing particularly memorable. The price is definitely right, but I'd look elsewhere.... I like Waterloo and City and Larry's, but they're both kind of noisy (Larry's was less so).... You might also enjoy the Six on Pico (which is surprisingly un-noisy.... for a sophisticated gastropub).

          1. re: ilysla

            Yeah--really disappointing about Orris--one of my very favorite restaurants. I went there many times over the years and always loved it. I think now Shiro is catering to the young Japanese demographic in the area--they love spaghetti in Japan. And pasta is very cheap, so they can make lots more money than on the pricey ingredients they used to specialize in. Blue Marlin down the street on Sawtelle, which is a lunch place, specializes in things like uni spaghetti. They get a lot of youngish people for lunch. I do like the Six but have been there too many times and for me it's not a birthday destination--they do have a GREAT burger BTW. Waterloo and City was okay the one time I was there but too noisy. Not familiar with Larry's. There are lots of good reports for Tar & Roses--so that's where we're going. Thanks for chiming in on this oldish thread.

            1. re: ThatPat

              Oh, goodness, I didn't even realize when the thread had been started originally! I simply saw the most recent post and assumed the rest of the responses were dated around the same time.

              At any rate, I hope you have a great b-day dinner! Please post a brief report to let us know how it was!

        2. Decided to have my birthday at Tar & Roses; that's on Sunday. However, tonight a friend and I tried Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, the pop-up on Abbott Kinney in the old Capri space. It's terrific--Gjelina type food (the ubiquitous kale salad, but a delicious one with apples and shaved parmesan), a great dish with little scallops in a very flavorful sauce on toast, and probably the best, crispy pork belly with broccolini--piquant but not too spicy. A great Luna Sangiovese by the glass. Pretty reasonable--a young crowd but not as terminally hip as Gjelina and very nice service. They now have their lease for another 4 months. I hate to give away the secret, but this is a really fun addition to the Abbott Kinney scene and we were able to walk in at 7 o'clock on a Thursday night and get a table. Am almost thinking of changing my birthday location to this place, but Tar & Roses does sound like it's worth trying also.