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Celebration dinner on the westside

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Hi everyone!

My in-laws are coming to town and would like to take my husband and me out to dinner to celebrate my husband's achievement of a professional goal. Here are the guidelines:

-Price is about $50/pp total (including alcohol)
-Somewhere between Santa Monica and West Hollywood. (We don't want to go too far because we'll have to pay a babysitter and don't want to get stuck in traffic for one of our rare nights out. We are in Westwood.)
-No asian food
-Nothing intimidating atmosphere-wise or food-wise. We've been to Craft and The Bazaar and my father-in-law was very uncomfortable.
-No seafood only places
-Decent wine list

As an example, my in-laws loved Orris. We would probably go there again, if it were still around. Sotto is at the top of my list right now.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Now may the time for Bizou http://cafebizou.com/index.php in Santa Monica and take your own wine for the $2 corkage.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      I like the sound of this. The in-laws have sent us a lot of great wine over the years! I'll look into it.

    2. Sotto should stay at the top of the list!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Thor123

        you folks may differ, but i find the service snooty at sotto. ive been 3X. no accomodation on changing or altering dishes, which is understandable but maybe not what grandpa wants. for one other example, we arrived 3 minutes before opening time when it was pouring rain cats and dogs outside and the valet took our car but they wouldn't open the door and instead had about 5 people point and laugh at us while we got soaked. Needless to say we changed our plans because who would want to enter a place where you were just mocked.

        1. re: jessejames

          Thanks Jesse. I hate rude and attitude. I like to be treated as a guest. Not someone for whom (?) they are doing a big favor. I still might try Sotto but I'll be sure to wait for the doors to open and wont dare ask for any substitutions. ;)

          1. re: Baron

            I am sorry to hear of your experience. I have always found the service outstanding. They always remember the drinks we like and on many occasions have brought samples of tequila, vodka, scotch and wines to the table for tasting before ordering - as they tend to offer small batch makers that many are not familiar with. I know they dont favor substitutions, but just last week we had a pizza that comes with fried egg and they had no problem when we asked to have it without. They have across the board been among the most down to earth servers I have seen anywhere.

      2. FIG at the Fairmont in SM has has a happy hour promo called FIG at Five, where everything is half off when ordered between 5-6 PM. If that's too early, their regular prices are still pretty good.

        Highlights for me include the bacon-wrapped bacon, chicken liver parfait, lengua, mussels, Brussels sprouts, and lots more.

        Casual and intimidating atmosphere and food. Should be able to find something for everyone, even your FIL.

        How old is/are the kid(s)? Ours (11 and 7) can find plenty to eat (3 onion soup gratinee, the aforementioned bacon-wrapped bacon--they also have a kids menu).

        Free hotel valet parking w/restaurant validation too. They take reservations through OpenTable though the FIG at Five times are generally unavailable through OT; just give them a call.

        (Partially copied from this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/905007/)

        How about Tar & Roses? Some of the menu items may be a little more intimidating (pig tails, fried whole snapper, etc.), but the service is great and the atmosphere is unintimidating.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PeterCC

          Our daughter (who is 16 months) won't be joining us, but this would be great if we had a slightly older child. Dinner just would NOT be enjoyable if my daughter were coming :) Maybe they'll still be offering this deal in 6 years.

          I'll check out Tar & Roses.

        2. Sounds like Bizou would suit your needs. Very non intimidating very reasonably priced menu and pretty good food comfortable booths and not noisy. You'll get out for under $50 per with some good wine. Congratulations.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Baron

            I think Sotto is far better food and experience.

            1. re: Thor123

              I've been wanting to try Sotto but I got the feeling that the inlaws are not adventurist diners. I think Bizou attracts an older crowd. And a $2 corkage is hard to beat. It sounds like Danielle wants to bring her own wine. She'll also score points with the inlaws for picking a modestly priced, but still somewhat classy, restaurant. My daughter had her rehearsal night dinner at Bizou years ago and they did a great job.

              1. re: Thor123

                I have been to Sotto once and I really enjoyed it. However, I didn't look at the menu with my inlaws in mind. I"ll have to revisit it online to see if it would be too much. I do remember that it was loud...which he wouldn't like. (He likes to talk a lot.)

            2. How about Restaurant 2117 (on Sawtelle)? Well w/in your budget and their corkage is $10, if you want to bring your own wine. Just had delicious soft shell crabs there. They also offer many non-seafood choices and definitely a comfortable place to eat. Japanese-influenced French-Italian (i.e. eclectic; I think it would appeal to your in-laws, given their response to Orris). Check out the menu: http://restaurant2117.happytables.com/