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

wasabica May 5, 2012 05:26 PM

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. perk RE: wasabica May 5, 2012 05:29 PM

    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
      maudies5 RE: perk May 5, 2012 06:21 PM

      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. z
      zack RE: wasabica May 5, 2012 06:31 PM

      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
        J.L. RE: zack May 5, 2012 06:38 PM

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

        1. re: zack
          degustingdiary RE: zack May 6, 2012 02:16 PM

          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
            wasabica RE: degustingdiary May 6, 2012 03:04 PM

            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
              degustingdiary RE: wasabica May 6, 2012 03:14 PM

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

        2. The Chowhound Team RE: wasabica May 6, 2012 12:39 AM

          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. f
            foodiemahoodie RE: wasabica May 6, 2012 01:37 AM

            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. w
              wasabica RE: wasabica May 6, 2012 01:58 PM

              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
                jessejames RE: wasabica May 6, 2012 02:36 PM

                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
                  wasabica RE: jessejames May 6, 2012 03:27 PM

                  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
                    J.L. RE: wasabica May 6, 2012 04:07 PM

                    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.
                      jessejames RE: J.L. May 6, 2012 04:30 PM

                      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.
                        jessejames RE: J.L. May 6, 2012 04:41 PM

                        ps J.L. -- nice work!

                  2. re: wasabica
                    Thor123 RE: wasabica May 8, 2012 09:08 PM

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

                    1. re: Thor123
                      maudies5 RE: Thor123 May 8, 2012 09:19 PM

                      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
                        wasabica RE: maudies5 May 9, 2012 02:16 PM

                        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. b
                    BSW6490 RE: wasabica May 9, 2012 02:59 PM

                    How about Spago?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BSW6490
                      wasabica RE: BSW6490 May 9, 2012 03:41 PM

                      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. l
                      linus RE: wasabica May 9, 2012 03:28 PM

                      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:

                      drive safely.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: linus
                        wasabica RE: linus May 9, 2012 03:42 PM

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

                        1. re: wasabica
                          linus RE: wasabica May 9, 2012 03:53 PM

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

                          1. re: linus
                            wasabica RE: linus May 9, 2012 03:59 PM

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

                      2. Servorg RE: wasabica May 9, 2012 04:20 PM

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

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Servorg
                          wasabica RE: Servorg May 11, 2012 01:07 PM

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

                          1. re: wasabica
                            Servorg RE: wasabica May 11, 2012 01:13 PM

                            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.

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