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Aug 3, 2012 07:53 AM

Group of 10 LA

Hi everyone,

I'll be with a group of 10 guys and we'll be stopping in LA for 5 nights.
Had some places in mind, but would appreciate preferences or alternative suggestions that could be good for a group of boys who enjoy a drink, but more importantly enjoy their food too.
Being 10 of us, realise it'll be tough getting in to all spots.
We like just about any cuisine. We'll have a van so travel no issue, plus we have no issues splitting cabs if need be (be the case most days). Price not too much of an issue (except high end urasawa prices of +$500pp) if it's worth the splurge. Probably prefer a relaxed atmosphere, If not than somewhere the food more than makes up for it.

Thought it might be easier to break down areas of LA we'd visit.
I'll write what I had in mind and for each number if you could say good thought, add something, or tell me dogs*** idea!

1) Venice/Santa Monica
Brekkie - Intelligentsia & Jin Patisserie vs huckleberry
Lunch - gjelina
Dinner - fig at five vs Rustic canyon
Afterdrinks? Your casual bar or brewery preference

2) Downtown (catching a lakers game scheduled for a Sunday)
Brunch - jar (realise it's not downtown, but they only do Sunday brunch)
After game - wurstkuche
AfterDrinks? Your casual bar or brewery preference

3) west Hollywood (apartment located) & bev hills
Brekkie... Griddle cafe (really struggling for ideas, yet to find cafe/bakery)
Lunch (to be quick sit-down or on the go)... Umami vs comme ca (burger), in n out (takeaway), Mozza vs sotto (pizza), any standout lunch deals?
Dinner... , animal vs son of a gun vs Little bear,, red medicine vs black hogg, bazaar vs ink
Drinks? Your Casual bar or brewery preference

4) planned on having a langers pastrami for a lunch on way to accom and eating dinner at mb post while waiting for flight out

Thanks in advance, any advice is appreciated

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  1. "Dinner... , animal vs son of a gun vs Little bear,, red medicine vs black hogg, bazaar vs ink"

    Black Hogg has been absolutely eviscerated I think that is one to miss. We loved Red Medicine, we've been multiple times to Animal and also love it and once to Son of a Gun and also think highly of the food. If you want some scene with your food then Bazaar is a good choice, but the food comes second to the scene as far as I'm concerned. As it stands now, I'd go to Red Medicine for this dinner, and with a group of 5 guys you can contribute more than most to the general cacophony of the room.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Red medicine a lock
      Ok so maybe I re-jig the comparisons?
      Sounds like both animal & son of a gun would win in your book... Would these all be too similar?

      1. re: Jmore1

        No. Animal is meat focused, Son of A Gun seafood focussed. Two very different menus & wonderful restaurants from the same two chef's.

        1. re: wienermobile

          Thanks for pointing that out, associated son of a gun to meat focused for some reason

      2. re: Servorg

        With a party of 10, Red Medicine will require you to design a set menu, which is a good thing. We just did a dinner with 10 and had a long table and great meal. Highly recommend.

        1. re: Thor123

          Ok so when you say 'design', how exactly do you mean?
          Call ahead and advise of selection of food or once we rock up we then organise?
          was it a variety of foods to choose from or was it dish selection? and was there a set number of courses/dishes to select?

          If you don't mind me asking - just so i have an idea, what did you guys order?

        2. re: Servorg

          Animal won't take reservations for a party that large.

          1. re: foodiemahoodie

            really? not knowing what reservations are like... would it be too risky to just turn up on the night? or would they not allow a party of 10 period?

            1. re: Jmore1

              I should have given you a heads up about that issue (when I suggested it I was simply forgetting that they told me when I booked a party of 7 once that they don't really go larger than that - although you could call and ask). Mostly they told me that it causes a real problem for the chefs getting that much food out to one party at the same time because they are working with a very small kitchen.

        3. When will you be in town? In the fall? You say you'll be catching a Lakers game on Sunday ...

          Lots of new places are going to be opening up, esp. in/around downtown, so it might help to know when (or at least the month) when you'll be here.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Haha unfortunately not until April!
            Just getting a feeler first, but will definitely check back closer to leaving, because as you said there will be new openings

            1. re: Jmore1


              Dude, half the restaurants on your list might have shuttered by then ...

              1. re: ipsedixit

                We're 8 months & counting buddy!
                Am I right in saying the food scene in LA doesn't drastically change though?
                Seems most places I planned visiting a couple years back on a trip that fell through are still going strong (animal, bazaar, red medicine, mozza)

                1. re: Jmore1

                  You're right, places like Animal, RM and Mozza will probably around for years to come, but their reps and quality of food will ebb and flow. As will their menu offerings, esp. Bazaar (or Saam if you go there instead).

                  For example, you ask for "standout lunch deals" at either Mozza or Sotto. Well, uh, 8 months from now who knows whether the lunch deals extant today will be around, right?

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    You're exactly right alot can happen in 8months, just wanted to see if I was on the right track for the moment. Then closer to leaving having an update if things had changed.

                    Should have been a little clearer on the lunch part, wasn't meaning lunch deals on those two particular restaurants (was only asking for a comparison on two pizza joints), was just after any good value lunch deals in LA. - something along the lines of fig at five which sounds good for a feed and bev at an awesome price

          2. You might try to book the private room at Pizzeria Mozza. You won't be sorry.

            The remodeled Spago and it's new menu will be back open at your visit or Wolfgang Puck's Cut for expensive but delicious steaks.

            Park's BBQ in Koreatown would work well for your large party. Great cuts of beef with wonderful Korean flavors cooked at your table.

            Langer's Deli (pastrami heaven) and MB Post are both definitely worth your visits.

            Welcome to LA

            4 Replies
            1. re: wienermobile

              Woah i like the look of Parks BBQ! Can't read Korean so any idea of price range on cuts of meat... And this is a cook yourself restaurant?

              Mozza private dining is a great idea! Like the sound of a banquet type meal there. Have you done this yourself?

              1. re: Jmore1

                At Park's everything is shared and should run around $40-$50 per person at dinner (a bit more if you go with the Kobe cuts). They cook the food for you at your table. A Wonderful meal.

                At Pizzera Mozza the private room serves the save menu as the Pizzeria. At Mozza 2 Go in their Scuola di Pizza private room they do theme dinner like Pork one night or Tomatoes or beef. Runs around $70 per person, is served family style with one seating per night on weekends only. The room holds round 22 people per meal and they will fill the table in addition to your party of 10.

                1. re: wienermobile

                  awesome! so the private room at pizzeria mozza you suggest? rather than mozza 2 go private room?

                  1. re: Jmore1

                    They are both great, just very different choices. One is a set meal the other is up to you.

            2. Waterloo and City in Culver City might be a good venue for a group of 10 guys. Very good food and nice bar scene.

              1 Reply
              1. re: carln

                thanks for that suggestion, great price range too!

              2. Good initial post on CH -- you did a lot of research, you specified the geographical areas you need, and you outlined your price points. But since it is your first post, I can't tell where your group is coming from, so I can't tell what you already do well in your home area. So just a few thoughts:

                When you are in Santa Monica/Venice, there is a top-floor bar in the Huntley Hotel on 2nd Street, a block north of Wilshire and a block from the coast, called the Penthouse. Great views up and down the coast. Wonderful if you can get there before sunset, and a great view anytime during daylight. Obviously not much worth it if well after dark.

                If you want a bite latenight after drinking downtown, my favorite taqueria is open 24/7. Carnitas Michaocan is north of downtown and Chinatown, on North Broadway at the N/W corner of 19th. Order at one window, pick up at another, covered patio seating. Good carne asada, better al pastor from a rotisserie spit, good quesadillas with meat or loaded nachos with meat. But the highlight here is the salda roja -- best hot sauce in SoCal -- smoky, brickred, thin, complex, spicy wonderful. Get as many little thimbles as they'll give you, and splurge the extra buck-fifty for an extra cup. Great stuff, really cheap. (Tacos are tiny, burritos are big and filling.) [I would also direct you to Dino's, just west of downtown on Pico at Berendo, two blocks west of Vermont, for their outstanding grilled chicken combo, but they usually close at 10.]

                I love Gjelina. Know that they make no substitutions or omissions. Their pizzas are thin-crust and charred on the bottom, cut into six slices. My favorite is the lamb sausage. Their salads and veggie dishes can give three or four people a substantial share. The pork belly with polenta and greens is a great dish, albeit small -- enough for three or four to taste. Save room for the butterscotch pot de creme for dessert -- modeled on, and in my samples better, than Mozza's butterscotch budino.

                I don't know where you are from, but instead of heading west to Huckleberry for breakfast, how about heading east (traffic is easy after 9 or 9:30) so SGV for dim sum? Great for a large group. Plenty of threads on this board about the current best, and carts vs. menu. You can still get back west in time to walk on Venice Beach, have lunch at Gjelina, explore Santa Monica, and have dinner. If you aren't hungry for Fig at Five, you might consider A-Frame on Washington in Culver City -- bold flavors served communally by Choi, the Kogi guy, or a highly recommended dinner at Chinois on Main, Puck's Asian fusion restaurant still strong after almost thirty years.

                The Alibi Room, a bar in Culver City (or is it Mar Vista) serves Kogi's tacos. Be sure to check on hours when the kitchen serves them.

                If you get burgers at In'n'Out, there is one in Westwood Village, just west of Beverly Hills. Be sure to order the fries welldone. A block east is Diddy Riese, for cheap cookies and ice cream (and a line that moves fast) and Stan's Donuts, a Westwood classic known for their peanut butter and jelly (or chocolate?) donuts. By the time you get here, there should be a U-Mini, a condensed version of Umami Burgers, open in Westwood Village as well -- compare for burger wars! (I've found Umami's burgers to be juicy and delicious, but small for the price. And their fries or onion rings are tiny portions. So lunch there is either unsatisfying or really expensive. So spliiting some Umami burgers and supplementing with some In'n'Out is not at all a crazy idea.)

                15 Replies
                1. re: nosh

                  I wouldn't make a trek out to SGV for dim sum. I mean, it's just dim sum. If you're going to make that trek from the westside, might as well do it for dinner, where the real action is at.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I can't tell if you're being serious. "Just" dim sum? I think your proximity to great dim sum (I'm pretty sure you live in SGV) has skewed your perspective. ;-) Dim sum's definitely worth the trek for me and many.

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      I think dim sum is overrated, and have never understood the fascination with it from non-Chinese folks.

                      It's fine. But if you really want to experience Sea Harbour or Elite, go for dinner. That's when the real action takes place.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        >>But if you really want to experience Sea Harbour or Elite, go for dinner. That's when the real action takes place.<<

                        Totally agree, but from an outsider's perspective (probably most of us), SGV dim sum is mindblowing. I suspect that, even as much as I respect your opinions and recs (honest), you may be just a bit jaded by being immersed in the SGV food culture in all of its vastness and glory? I don't know where the OP is from, but if it's an area that is thinner in Chinese culture than SGV, the Bay Area, or parts of Canada, or NYC, I'd jump at the chance.

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          People don't even realize just how good dinner service is at places like Sea Harbour or Elite because they don't even have it on their radar. It's too bad because both the food and value at dinner far outpaces what's offered at dim sum.

                          And if you are coming from a non-culturally diverse area, then it's even more imperative you try a place like Sea Harbour for dinner as opposed to dim sum.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            I understand your argument but the word "value" may be misleading since dinners at Elite and Sea Harbor will easily run $200-$500+ for a party of 4-5 if you're "doing it right" so to speak.

                            It could even be argued that if you don't spend at least that much on dinner then you're missing the point at these restaurants which is the delicious live seafood, specialty soups, etc.

                            For what it's worth, Chinese people in Hong Kong and Shanghai still get pretty excited by dim sum as evidenced by the lines on the weekends. Even there, dinner service is slower than dim sum service and it's not for a lack of appreciation.

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                As do I. I just wish some newcomer would come shake things up and offer some more variety in terms of the types of dim sum items being offered. As good as Elite and Sea Harbor are, the variety is still lacking when compared to Hong Kong, I'm guessing Vancouver, and even Koi Palace in SF.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  Yes the Chinese food in Vancouver is amazing, but we have it pretty good here in LA too.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    There are one or two things that Koi Palace does better than Sea Harbour or Elite, but overall it's pretty even.

                                    Vancouver? Let's not kid ourselves. Only place in the world that one can rank with Vancouver is Hong Kong.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      The dim sum items at Koi are probably twice that of Elite and Sea Harbour offerings. I agree the quality is about equal. The dungeness crab XLB and whole lobster dumplings at $38 really tip the scale in favor of Koi Palace for me.

                                      During dinner, Koi Palace separates itself even more since they have around 17-20 tanks of live seafood with at least 3 different types of crab (dungeness, green mud crab, and king crab when in season) and usually at least 4-5 types of fish (china cod, red rock cod, sea trout, black cod), both Maine and spiny lobsters, and baby abalone. Sometimes the tanks at Sea Harbour and Elite are a little sparse. The preparations offered for each is also more unique and time consuming. The prices are also a bit more reasonable than either Elite or Sea Harbour which is always shocking to me.

                      2. re: ipsedixit

                        to be honest, don't think the group would be keen on trekking for dim sum breakfast...
                        i don't know, dim sum for breakfast doesn't sound all that appealing to me?
                        am i totally mistaken on this?

                        1. re: Jmore1

                          Dim sum is breakfast/brunch food.

                      3. re: nosh

                        thanks for the wrap! we're coming from sydney.

                        definitely will map Carnitas Michaocan down! always need the late night eats after a drinking session.. it says that it's close to dodger stadium?

                        might even do that pre/post dodgers game instead, is the food at the stadium mediocre?

                        haha i like that idea.. an umami burger followed by an in n out burger! considering the average burger made here in sydney is mediocre in comparison (from a previous visit), we're keen to beef up while we're there!

                        appreciate the huntley recommendation, had visited here with the fam last stay and really enjoyed it there..
                        if you had the choice for one dinner in Santa Monica with a group of guys, what would it be (fig, a-frame, chinois)? read great things about melisse, but would do that with the gf

                        1. re: Jmore1

                          Carnitas Michaocan is probably less than a mile east of Dodger Stadium, but the ballpark is surrounded by parking lots, highway entrances and exits, and is on a high plateau, so it is not a direct shot.

                          Food at Dodger Stadium is problematic -- lots of hotdogs and chain outlets. If you must try a Dodger Dog, try to get one that is grilled rather than steamed -- big difference. The biggest problem is that is is EXPENSIVE -- a single beer costs as much as two burritos at CM. But you can bring food in -- no alcohol, no glass bottles.

                          All three of the choices for a Santa Monica dinner are good. Fig is a good value if you get there between 5 and 6 for the half-price "Fig at Five." Chinois is my longtime favorite Puck restaurant, with very bold flavors. It will be expensive, but not horribly so if you stick mostly with the smaller plates, which are almost as big as the larger. The problem there would be handling a party of ten. I would choose A-Frame. They don't take reservations, so there will be a wait for a large party, but they have a bar with creative drinks (and unusual beers and wines) so I'm sure your group can entertain themselves. Everything there is served to share, so you could order two of everything on the menu and go to town. By far the most casual of the three.