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20th Wedding Anniversary - Need recs for something truly special.

We are big foodies and wine aficionados and have been to pretty much every top restaurant in LA and have experienced many a tasting menu here and worldwide. For our 20th, we want to do something very special. We don't just want to pick a fancy restaurant, the experience must be unique in some way. A special chef's tasting menu in the restaurant's kitchen that is not typically offered to the public would be one way to go, but I am open to any/all other suggestions. Not worried about cost, but we are also not going to do something unnecessarily extravagant like getting a pound of beluga or whatnot. The right thing should be the penultimate foodie/wine experience in an exciting and ideally romantic setting. Something well beyond the tasting menu at providence or Saam. If you guys can't help me we are just going to do French Laundry or Joel Rubuchon, but that seems so cliche, and we really want to stay in Los Angeles. We will consider any kind of food, but our favorite restaurants in LA right now are N-Naka and Capo. Love Seafood, Japanese, and Mediterranean. Our favorite restaurants of all time are Alinea in Chicago and Paul Bocuse in Lyon. Big fans of Quince and Coi in SF as well. Ideas?

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  1. This may be something you've already thought of...and disregrded....but couldn't you have any of your favorite chefs cook a private dinner for you? I would think you could do a lovely hotel suite and have the chef come to you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: perk

      I like Perk's way of thinking. One idea may be to book a suite at the Montage (I visited one recently, and it was gorgeous) and have Scarpetta serve you a course by course meal in your suite. No concerns about driving afterwards and you can even arrange to take a walk between courses. I believe that they would be amenable to this. Congratulations!

    2. You didn't mention if you've ever been to Urasawa, that would be my suggestion. Melisse with special pre-arrangement (for true carte blanche) is another idea. Although Providence was nixed, it does have a chef's table with view to kitchen and may request to go beyond the regular chef's tasting. Same for Patina.

      4 Replies
      1. re: zack

        Looking at OP's CH profile, it seems wasabica's been to Urasawa already.

        1. re: zack

          Yeah, I second zack's Carte Blanche at Melisse suggestion. Outside of Per Se, it's my favorite restaurant in the country. And they have a small private dining room.

          1. re: degustingdiary

            Some other friends suggested Melisse Carte Blanche as well. That does seem to fit my request. I will look into it, thanks

            1. re: wasabica

              If you do decide to go with Melisse, I'd recommend a tableside preparation.

        2. Folks, a gentle reminder to keep your responses focused on the L.A. area. Discussing Tokyo and Monterey is off topic for this board, but more to the point, wasabica is asking everyone to "stay in Los Angeles." Thanks!

          1. You might put together a list of your favorite foods (I for the decadent stuff - like sea urchin, foie, lobster) and ask n/naka or Capo if they could make a special 20th anniversary menu with those ingredients. And ask what the up-charge would be.

            1. Lots of good ideas, thanks! Thought about and nixed the private chef in hotel or similar idea because it would be impossible for them to execute the kind of food we like at the quality we want if they do not have the right staff and equipment. (Although the Montage/Scarpetta idea does sound very nice) Urawawa is of course good eating and we love Sushi/Kaiseki, but that restaurant is not romantic/intimate enough for us. Everyone in Urasawa gets pretty much the same dinner - not "special" just for 2. Asking N-Naka or Capo to basically kick it up a few notches is definitely a consideration, and since we know them that is probably the "safest" route. I am also exploring to see if anyone knows of any ofher "chef's kitchen" or "restaurant within a restaurant" kind of semi-secret experiences. I have had one too many sub-par experiences at Providence to keep them in the running.

              8 Replies
              1. re: wasabica

                There is a private japanese/modern looking omakase room window on la cienega at Matsuhisa, essentially a high class bar for 6 or so with a few iron chefs working up dishes. We went for my dad's 60th about 5 years ago and it was dynamite. Loads of fresh mostly raw seafood in various sashimi, sushi and other sorts of arrangements. They did my dad's meal special to all of his favorites but then kicked it up a notch as they say. I still frequent Matsuhisa, have other favorites on regular menu, but can say tho that this omakase room is private (even if yo went just you two and there was someone else there in room) very cool and might be worthy of consideration.

                1. re: jessejames

                  Funny, the last time I was at Matsuhisa was for our 10 year anniversary. We did the full omakase in the main room. I think 10years ago it came to $600. I have a little card with our picture and something chocolate. While we had a great evening, I was not overly impressed with the sushi/sashimi. I didn't mind that a lot of it was modern, but at the time any way I had experienced better at other places. My overall impression was that the place was too trendy and that it lacked substance. That said, we never did the private room. I heard it costs the same as Urasawa but it not as good. Is that fair?

                  1. re: wasabica

                    I'm a semi-regular in the private omakase room at Matsuhisa (40+ visits). It's very nice, but I'm not sure it's any more special than Urasawa.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      Haven't been to Urasawa, tho been to lots of great sushi spots in tokyo and other parts of japan...i imagine Urasawa as strictly sushi and sashimi....it isn't just sushi and sashi at matsuhisa depending on what you have...there are nice cooked fish and shellfish dishes too....im guessing it was about 150/pp there plus drinks for what we had....even if not for your anniversary, why don't you give that private area a shot sometime while dining in LA .... ill do the same on Urasawa -- win win.

                      1. re: J.L.

                        ps J.L. -- nice work!

                  2. re: wasabica

                    I would check in to Shutters and work out a special menu at Capo. No way you go wrong.

                    1. re: Thor123

                      Bruce Marder, owner of Capo. designed a glorious tasting menu for a small party. I was fortunate to be a guest. Wonderful evening. Call and ask to speak with Bruce.

                      1. re: maudies5

                        I know the Capo people well and this is definitely an option per my original post, but we go there a lot and I wanted to maybe do something different. Thanks

                  3. How about Spago?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BSW6490

                      Thanks, but with all due respect, *yawn*. I did their tasting menu about 2 years ago, was surprisingly disappointed in the food and annoyed at how they rushed us.

                    2. go to one of the local wine stores and buy some vintage krug. hit up petrossian for some caviar, maybe the cheese store of beverly hills for some cheese.
                      stop at phillips or bludso's for some spare ribs.
                      see if you can get reservations here:
                      http://www.elcapitancanyon.com

                      drive safely.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: linus

                        Looking for a top-tier restaurant, but thanks. And we will hire a driver :)

                        1. re: wasabica

                          but this one has better food and a better view. oh well.

                          1. re: linus

                            too far, we want to stay local. But noted for our next trip to wine country, thanks

                      2. What about working out a special dinner and wines to match at Valentino?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Servorg

                          Thanks but I have never found Valentino to be as good as Capo.

                          1. re: wasabica

                            Then the best place you can go right now for a stellar meal in Los Angeles (and I saw on another thread that you can arrange a tasting menu if you so desire) is Red Medicine in B. Hills. Take your own wine.