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Need alternate dinner idea... have reservations at Craft, but....

I'll be driving from Pasadena and not sure if I'll make my reservation in time - and don't really want to push it back further.

I've been to Craft once before and loved it. The top notch service and excellent food, in a comfortable atmosphere (not loud/cramped), is why I thought it would be perfect for the occasion (celebrating a 75th b'day).

But, I'm starting to think I should pick someplace closer (so I'm not as rushed for time). Nothing in Pasadena appeals to me...but I would be open to something in downtown or in between.

Anything in particular come to mind? (Not interested in Drago Centro or Providence... Patina and Hatfield's are maybe's but I'd almost rather just stick to the original plan with those two.) Where am I forgetting about?!

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    1. re: Thor123

      Thanks for the idea... proximity is spot on, but WAY too loud and cramped...

        1. re: Wayno

          +1 Alma, but it's loud too nowadays...

          1. re: chrishei

            Alma is completely booked for Friday and Saturday dinners over a month out.

    2. I feel for you, I really do....I can't think of any downtown places that aren't overly loud and hip.... It's getting harder to celebrate with oldsters in tow these days....

      Just throwing these out there, but they may be totally off base..
      Cliff's Edge
      Musso & Franks

      Best of luck....

      4 Replies
      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

        Thanks for the other ideas... Cliff's Edge was on my radar as the alternate, so you are not off base in the least! I've never heard of Allumette... can you tell me more (off to do some searching).

        1. re: The Oracle

          I have not been so don't have any personal experience with it. Here's an LA weekly article/review:


          1. re: The Oracle

            Miles Thompson is hitting it out of the park at Allumette. He is a former sous at both Animal and Son of A Gun. The quality of the food is extraordinary. Not every dish hits the bullseye, but he's 26 and stretching. Parking is really funky as it's in a marginal area.

            We love, love the restaurant, but it's really different than Craft, so wouldn't suggest it as a replacement.

            Had dinner for first time in long time at Osteria Mozza. Requested table in the back dining room. Was very impressed on every level. Also Chi Spacca, Mozza's newish, meat speakeasy, could hit the mark.

            1. re: revets2

              Good to know, thanks for your feedback!

          1. re: ipsedixit

            in Arcadia? or n/naka in Palms?

              1. re: ipsedixit

                So confusing! Stop the world, I wanna get off!

          2. so...

            You have reservations at Craft, but you also have reservations about Craft?

            1. Since you like Craft, have you considered changing the reservation time from 7:30pm to 8 or 8:30pm?

              3 Replies
              1. re: cujo

                She says she doesn't want to push it any further back.... And she has older people with her.....

                1. re: cujo

                  I have, and I've already pushed it back as far as I can. I was considering an additional 30 minutes, but that time slot is no longer available.

                2. You don't like the Parkway Grill? I think it's easily in the same league as Craft.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: josephnl

                    I definitely do - it's just that it's completely overdone for the guest of honor. I was considering Cheval Blanc (to do something different), but for the price point, would much rather have the experience at Craft and think it's a more special experience on the whole.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Thanks for the idea. Location is great, but my sentiments about the place are not as promising. It's been years since my last and only visit, and I wasn't all that blown away by my experience. I'm looking for something with just slightly more pizazz (from an overall perspective).

                    2. JAR on Beverly Blvd in West Hollywood

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cujo

                        Love JAR, but it's not necessarily much closer than Craft, for my timing issues.

                        1. Patina is also shuttered until Sept something something. I can't remember.

                          Wouldn't Water Grill in DTLA work? Or too stodgy?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: TonyC

                            Good to know re: Patina. And, Water Grill may work just fine!

                          2. I'm assuming you've already considered (and for whatever reason discarded) The Royce at the Langham Huntington?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: J.L.

                              The guest of honor has a celebratory event planned at the hotel, so I was going for a general change of venue.

                              J.L. - I'm assuming you've been, since the change to a 'wood-fired grill'? I'm curious what you think, if so.

                              1. re: The Oracle

                                I see...

                                I enjoyed The Royce twice since the name change. Nothing particular to write home about, though.

                                The best days in that venue were when an upstart named Michael Voltaggio was helming the kitchen.

                            2. Haven't been in years, but would Arroyo's Chophouse suffice? I know it's just a steak house, but I remember liking it better than Mastro's when I used to live in LA, and it's in Pasadena. I'm not sure if Hollywood helps either, but I recall wanting to bring my parents to Osteria Mozza since the last time I was there, I didn't have to struggle having a conversation with others.

                              1. ***UPDATE*** It's a long story, but the snapshot is I had to cancel the Craft reservation and now need a Sunday night option (Craft is closed Sunday).

                                Water Grill is the top contender at the moment. I haven't' been there in ages (last visit was likely 10 years ago!)... can anyone vouch for it currently or steer me in another direction? I'm looking for good food with exceptional service.

                                11 Replies
                                  1. re: chrishei

                                    not a fan of either (food-wise), but thank you for the suggestions!

                                  2. re: The Oracle

                                    JAR is open and you love it. Make life easy for yourself.

                                    1. re: cujo

                                      My hesitation is the beef-centric menu (guest of honor does not eat red meat) - hence, why I'm veering away from steakhouses. While I know there is a fish and chicken option on the menu, it's a deterrent, generally.

                                      1. re: The Oracle

                                        Got it. How do you feel about Maison Akira? It's open on sunday and i never had a bad meal there.

                                        1. re: The Oracle

                                          I just had a incredible celebratory meal at Chi Spacca-- it's known for the products coming out of its curing room, yes, but there was plenty to please me and I'm not a big beef/pork eater. The roasted chicken looked divine, and there were pasta and fish options too, including a tempting whole branzino. The griddled La Brea Bakery bread is amazing, as is the creamless creamed corn. Service was attentive and very friendly to boot, and I loved the energy of the small space and open kitchen.

                                          1. re: The Oracle

                                            In my many visits to Chi Spacca, I have never seen pasta on the menu, so I'm curious what pasta was on the menu.

                                            I wouldn't fear Spacca for a non-red meat eater. It's not red meat centric at all. If the guest of honor does not eat beef, but eats pork the tomahawk is the way to go. The chicken is well prepared and has a nice kick. Don't forget the foccacia. Be aware the menu changes often, but the branzino and chicken seem to be recurring items.

                                            1. re: The Oracle

                                              Hatfield's. It's relatively quiet, great, interesting food, and a pretty, comfortable room. It's also a lot closer to Pasadena than Century City is (I live in Pasadena) - if you take the 134/101 to Forest Lawn and come through the Cahuenga Pass it's pretty easy - especially on a Sunday night.

                                          2. re: The Oracle

                                            We loved, loved, loved the Water Grill before their recent make over. We now dislike it very much and although we've tried it a few times recently, it's unlikely we'll return. It remains as expensive as ever, but now instead of the elegant tablecloth dining experience, it's now more an upscale very noisy coffee shop feel. The food is pretty good, but what was very definitely a special occasion restaurant, is sadly seriously changed.

                                            Have you considered Madeo which I believe is open on Sundays? Madeo is a wonderful, special occasion Italian restaurant that never fails to please...wonderful food, great service and very pleasant ambiance. I'd go there!

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              Thanks so much, josephini. I appreciate your feedback on Water Grill. I have not been to Madeo nor was it on my radar (until now!). I will check it out!

                                            2. re: The Oracle

                                              The Grill On The Alley in Beverly Hills is pretty much a low key locals' place on Sunday night. (I think all the rich folks that used to have Sunday dinner at Trader Vic's at the Hilton have moved to the Grill....) The food and service are excellent, and the menu is very broad, so everyone should be able to find something they like.

                                            3. ***UPDATE*** Thanks, everyone, for your input. I wanted to report back to let you know we ended up at NONE of the choices, unfortunately. Water Grill was going to be the spot (thank you for that suggestion, TonyC, and josephini for chiming in), but, at the last minute, we ended up at Smitty's (for a myriad of reasons - mostly timing (it getting late in the evening and kitchens closing up)). The b'day guest had a fantastic time, but the others in the party disliked their first-time experience there.... which was disappointing. I knew what to expect and thought it was a satisfactory experience.