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Special birthday dinner Pasadena or environs

I was going to take a friend to the Langham Huntington, then discovered the restaurant has been completely changed with a different chef. Does it still have interesting food? (Appears to be mainly a steakhouse now.) Where else can I take someone for a really nice dinner?

We've been to the Parkway Grill numerous times, so that's not a choice. I'm willing to travel some, but prefer not to go to the west side. Downtown LA, Glendale, Burbank, etc. are all OK.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Crossings in South Pas is my current favorite area restaurant, followed very closely by the Raymond. They might switch places on a warm evening.

    As for the Royce steakhouse, I have no personal experience. I did have several good meals when the chef at Royce was leading the kitchen at Craft in Century City a few years ago. Assuming the menu appealed to me, I wouldn't hesitate to give it a shot.

    You'll have a much wider selection at either Crossings or the Raymond, though.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jack Flash

      Thanks! I'm familiar with the Raymond, but Crossings is new to me. I'll check it out.

      1. re: Jack Flash

        I've been curious about Crossings, but haven't had the pleasure yet.... any dish recs?

        1. re: The Oracle

          They have a larger-than-average selection of first courses, and those in particular I've enjoyed have been the shrimp ceviche, the tuna poke, the scallop and the oysters. In other words, the seafood (it just so happens that I've had seafood every time).

        2. re: Jack Flash

          The Crossings is operated by personnel more than familiar with the Parkway Girll, so expect similar setting, service, and enjoyment.
          The menu is up to you and what you want to eat.
          For a preview:
          http://crossings-restaurant.com/
          I would definitely give it a shot!

        3. I like The Royce, but it is a steak oriented place. So if that's a problem, then you should consider Crossings, which I've heard good things about, but have yet to try. Seems to me like it's a copycat version of Parkway Grill, esp. given the fact that the chef came from Parkwway Grill. Just something to keep in mind.

          You might consider Bashan in Glendale as an alternative.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            You know, it's been several years now since I went to Parkway. Crossings is much more "traditional" than I recall Parkway being. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised to learn this, but I bet it's been 5 years since I last visited. In fact, looking over the Parkway menu, it seems not nearly as innovative as it once was. Or maybe it's just that things that seemed cutting edge 25 years ago aren't so much today.

            1. re: Jack Flash

              Once Hugo Molina left, and the California cuisine thing where you listed every ingredient in an entrée or app departed, the menu has veered more toward the Chophouse menu next door.
              Now I feel the only difference is the ambiance - Parkway seems a bit more feminine while he Chop House seems a bit more masculine looking.

              1. re: carter

                Where is Hugo Molina these days? We followed him to his own place on Green St. after he left Parkway, then sort of lost track of him. Last I heard he was heading the kitchen at a (now gone) place on La Cienega.

                1. re: Jack Flash

                  Last thing I heard about Hugo Molina was he was the head chef at Spanish Kitchen, as you said, on La Cienega, which was probably 5 years ago.
                  Chef db no help for an update.
                  Now if only Hugo would drop in on Chowhound!

                  1. re: carter

                    He was at a place called Seta out in Whittier...their FB site shows that he's still there, tho' haven't confirmed...(tho he was noted as the creator of their Valentine's Day menu this past Feb.).

          2. Is Maison Akira still around? We had a wonderful dinner there, but that was several years ago, and I don't even know if it's still open......

            2 Replies
              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                Went once with my mom and did not enjoy at all.

                1. re: judybird

                  They are doing Hail to the Pig 2.
                  And on September 18 the Mumbo Gumbo Fest - I think that might be a Pasadena event with other restaurants participating.

                2. I would go to Bashan in Glendale. Great tasting Menu, top chef, voted "best under the radar top restaurant".

                    1. Is the price point and ambiance desired in the Parkway Grill/Royce arena?

                      There are 100's of choices and about 30 good choices in the areas you've mentioned.

                      We're very lucky in the Pasadena area. Lately, there have been some fun openings: Union, Claude & Co, AltaEats, Kimagure, Picnik, Pizza of Venice, Crossings (not been).

                      Our two best meals of the year have been at LQ's pop-ups, but there are currently no dinners planned.

                      If willing to go to DTLA, Orsa & Winston is very special and a great value, IMHO.

                      Let us know what you're looking for.