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Langham Pasadena Mother Day Buffet

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My mother loves buffer. So yesterday our family went to the mother day buffet at Langham Pasadena. Langham's one the few top-dollar Mother Day buffet available in LA .

Huge disappointment.

The Good : free valet, very fresh salad greens, excellent Jazz band, well dressed waiters, nice looking dessert displays at the entrance, choice of four varieties of caviar : black and green tobiko, salmon roe and lumpfish.

The Bad : We were assigned and led to table 52, an already occupied table. Our guide was befuddled, left us standing by table 52 while he sought a solution for the situation. Ten minutes later, our guide came back to seat us at table 44.

The Ugly : Limited food choices and average to poor food quality. Specially, the stone crab claws were frozen, thawed and were tough and tasteless. Half-shell oyster were dried out. Bacon were kept in a covered pan collecting steam. Over-cooked roasted beef. After noticing that the piece to be sliced has no pink, I requested a center piece from the adjacent, uncut piece. Still no pink. The leg of lamb is no better.

In conclusion, the Langham's ballroom mother day buffet's environment is very pleasant. The free rose for mother is a plus. Food-wise, disappointing.

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  1. Next time try Scarpetta Beverly Hills for a great buffet

    3 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      The Peninsula used to have a good brunch. Haven't been in years. I saw Ashley Judd there one time.

      1. re: wienermobile

        We had mother day buffet at Scarpetta BH last year. Outstanding buffet with a superb Italian focus. The cheese selection was phenomenal. I especially liked the blue cheese served with truffled honey. Also, do not miss their cook to order special items listed on menu placed on the table.

        Unlike Scarpetta, Langham Pasadena does not currently serve a weekly Sunday Buffet. Langham's website cited this year's Easter Buffet is their first endeavor to host buffet at their Ballroom after a long absence. This past Mother Day was their second attempt to host buffet at their ballroom on major holidays.

        1. re: FallingLeave

          I, too, was at Scarpetta BH last year for Mother's Day and it WAS phenomenal. (funny that I was almost at the Langham this year). What's on tap for next year, FallingLeave? :) I'm thinking Culina, for us!

          I'll note that I was also at Scarpetta on Father's Day 2012 and another subsequent visit and the experiences did not live up to the Mother's Day visit.

      2. So sorry for your disappointment.

        I've been to many MD Buffets but none of them compare to this year's Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel.
        It was beyond outstanding.

        1. Thank you for the recap - I was debating going myself, and in the end, opted against it. I know they were sold out this year, so it definitely appeals to many. I attended a Easter brunch in the Ballroom a few years ago and was disappointed in the food. They do some things well, but something definitely gets lost in their efforts. And, for top dollar, I expect more.

          1. That's rather unfortunate. I like a really good brunch spread every once in a while. I would think that on such a busy day, they'd have no problem bringing out fresh seafood and properly-cooked meats.

            I wonder if the brunch at the Royce steakhouse was a better bet?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jack Flash

              I'm more interested in the regular menu at Royce Steakhouse, esp. the steak tasting for 88/person.

            2. It still amazes me that there are people out there with high expectations for a Mother's Day meal. Like Valentines day, this is the one holiday restaurants will make money regardless of what and how it is served.

              I understand your disappointment in that for a high end venue, at those prices, one would expect the food and service to be stellar. They really should be, but most often it never is. Just seems to be a fact for this holiday.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                I think the default assumption is giving "mom" a break from the cooking. (I do most of the cooking at our home, so this does not work for us - it is more to do something outside the routine - and an opportunity to try out a new restaurant, or go back to an old favorite for us)

                However, when you go to a high end place, I don't see why the expectations cannot be high - whether it is Valentines or Mothers or any other day. If they serve good food with good service on the day before and after Mothers Day, will they drop down a notch or so just because they get more traffic?

                1. re: suvro

                  Yes, I know that's the default assumption, and restaurants know it too. Even in higher end places, the kitchen and waitstaff become overworked over a four to eight hour shift. FOH tends to double book tables and confusion ensues with patrons and waitstaff. Inferior substitutes can come into play in the kitchen as they deals with the increased volume of diners. They often run out of things, or put inexperienced sous chefs on who tend to over or undercook items. And the restaurant isn't accustomed to holding large banquets, it will often not order or make enough food. Sounds like all of the above happened in the OP's experience on Sunday. All too common.

                2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  At $95 a head, at a high-end hotel, my expectation is high - regardless of the event/holiday. It's even more so for a buffet at a hotel vs. a set menu (say a Valentine's set menu that's marked up sky high at a restaurant).

                  1. re: The Oracle

                    At $95 a head, at a high-end hotel, my expectation is high - regardless of the event/holiday
                    ___________________

                    Then it really is more of a "you" problem then a "them" problem.

                    Holidays and what-nots are really amateur hour for restaurant goers. Unfortunate, but true.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Frequently, when negative endorsement get posted online. "My" problem becomes "their" problem.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Actually, it is definitely a Langham problem because until a couple of years ago, their expensive Sunday buffet brunch ($75 on normal days, $95 on special occasions) was maybe the best in the city. Even their cheese selection was ridiculously high-end - i remember having brillat savarin, fourme d'ambert, and other expensive cheeses. The only comparison I can make today is Scarpetta Beverly Hills, which is also very good (and whose cheese station is filled by Beverly HIlls Cheese Co).
                        Anyway, the Langham made a decision to move away from that business, which certainly their call to make. The problem is that when you bring back the brunch and charge the same price you used to, it's not unreasonable for your old customers to expect the same quality level as before. Sadly, that was unfortunately not the case here.

                        1. re: Bert

                          That $75 Sunday brunch was exceptional! It's really too bad they did away with it - as their current option is ridiculously bad (in terms of what they offer and execute).

                          1. re: The Oracle

                            Have you tried the market brunch at the Royce? It sounds like a partial buffet with additional a la minute chef stations.

                      2. re: The Oracle

                        It's exactly why I posted my experience at one of the most delicious buffets I've ever been to.
                        It was one of those where our expectations were actually surpassed @ $110 a head.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          Where was that?

                          1. re: The Oracle

                            Ritz Carlton Laguna.