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Friday night - need dinner suggestion - trying to please out of towners & locals with varying palates, etc. (Pasadena area)

'hounds - I need your help!

I have two different friends visiting from out of town on the same night. We'll be a group of 6 all together... age range late 30's to early 40's. Would prefer to stay within 10-15 minutes of Pasadena

Here's my challenge:
1) Guest #1 has a pretty basic palate - prefers hamburgers, pizza, ice cream. Mexican food, doesn't drink (not completely opposed to a bar scene, but doesn't prefer it)
2) Guest #2 would prefer to hit the town. Enjoys a wide variety of food, including fine dining, good beer.

Another two of the party prefer something off the beaten path - they like discovering hidden gems and are 'hounds at their core. One doesn't drink and doesn't particularly like the bar scene, the other enjoys a casual beer.

The fifth of the party dislikes Mexican food, loves to drink, and is pretty flexible with food - as long as it's 'hound worthy.

Successful places with most of this group have been: The York and Wurstkuche.... (both gastropub type places, now that I think of it!)

Because of that - Mohawk Bend comes to mind. I haven't been yet - but have been leery of some food reviews I've read.

Ideally - I'm looking for something on the casual side, but upbeat enough on a Friday night that Out of town guest #2 feels like they are experiencing a fun night out. I'd like to keep the price point to around $20 or less for food... (this can be variable, if some perfect spot is jumping out at you!)

Any ideas? Or does Mohawk Bend sound like the right fit?

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  1. Keeping in the gastropub theme, have you considered either Kings Row or Haven, both in Pasadena? I've only been to the former. We enjoyed our food, and it didn't seem too bar-sceney. There is an outdoor patio, weather permitting (it may not).

    Unfortunately, Haven's website doesn't have prices, but the menu actually sounds more interesting than Kings Row. I can't imagine that its prices are that far out of line.

    Since both are located in Old Town, they're not off the beaten path by any means.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jack Flash

      Thanks, Jack Flash! I appreciate the food feedback on Kings Row. Haven't been to either but that seems like it would fit the ticket - and be the right proximity for all!

      Is Haven the one that took over the old Jerry's Deli spot on DeLacey? (the space that seems to be cursed, as I refer to it)....

      1. re: The Oracle

        > Is Haven the one that took over the old Jerry's Deli spot on DeLacey?

        Yes.

        1. re: The Oracle

          I think Haven will be more than $20 for dinner and the food was nothing special.

      2. Maybe Dog Haus Biergarten?

        - In Pasadena? Check.
        - Within the stated budget? Check.
        - Hamburgers for Guest #1? Check.
        - Good beer for Guest #2? Check.
        - Hidden gem? Maybe -- at least it's quirky and unique.
        - Chowish food? Debatable, but I do like their hamburgers in spite of the King's Hawaiian buns.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Peripatetic

          All but Guest #2 have visited the original Dog Haus and it came off with mixed reviews... not sure it will fly for this outing, but excellent suggestion. Good to know about their burger!

          1. re: The Oracle

            I think their burgers are much better than their dogs. Even if you ignore the King's Hawaiian buns, the dogs themselves (including the "snap" dog) seem to be really inferior to Vienna Beef and Hoffy dogs. I won't eat hot dogs there anymore.

        2. In Pas, I'd still stay Vertical Wine Bistro. It has a (bison) burger, a tarte flambee (pizza), and a very decent happy hour, especially on Sunday (all day). If sharing, the $20/pp price should be easily met, and the charming entrance is a few feet "off the path". It's also not as loud as The York, but the room gets a decent buzz just loud enough for that age group.

          Beyond that, Racio's (which is discussed below) seems to be the other obvious choice.

          It's been a few months since I've tasted Mohawk's food but... boy did it leave a bad impression.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TonyC

            Thanks for the Mohawk food feedback.

            I think Vertical would be too formal for Guest #1 and would blow most everyone else's price point (since we'd be going on an off-happy hour time).

          2. I live near Mohawk Bend and have been three times. I'd go back, but not for the food. I like the beer selection, but I've been disappointed with every single food-item I've ordered. Also, it can be pricey. I would find something else, if I were you.

            How about the Congregation that just opened up in Pasadena a few months ago. I can't vouch for the food there, because I haven't had any. Maybe someone else can tell you how the food is.

            4 Replies
            1. re: alliebear

              Not good. Cheap beer. Haven food better.

              1. re: alliebear

                Thanks for the feedback on Mohawk Bend. It's extremely helpful.

                I've been to Congregation Ale House - not bad food - burger was very good, sausage I tried was passable, flat bread pizza was meh. Their ordering setup is a little odd (stand in line and order at the register - but they need to work on their flow of things). For this group, I need a little more range with the food menu - although, it's a great suggestion!

                1. re: The Oracle

                  Would your picky friend (burgers, pizza, ice cream) eat Thai or Korean?

                  1. re: alliebear

                    I know Thai would work (the entire group has done Saladang before) - would prefer a new experience. I'm not sure about Korean - but, if it's meat-centric, I'm sure it would be passable.

              2. How about Plate 38 in Pasadena? Kinda off the beaten path (Colorado at Sierra Madre). Should fit the price point.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jack Flash

                  I wasn't impressed with Plate 38 and had an off experience that made me swear off the place. I also don't think it will give Guest #2 the 'hit the town' experience they are seeking.