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Philly Business Dinner


bethb
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My first pick would be Jack's Firehouse. They have a private room that can handle that size crowd and lots of experience cooking for groups. I like Jack's both because of Jack McDavid's cooking and because of his commitment to starting with the finest available produce, fish and meats from local farmers.

Any of the steak houses would do quite nicely. I'm partial to the Palm and Mortons. Also Ruth's Chris.

Another great spot is Tequilla's. Upscale Mexican above and beyond border fare. Regional Mexican cuisine from all over Mexico.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Not sure the kind of industry you're in..for the kind of business entertaining I do, Jack's would not work. ( ie, uptight, ubberserious :laugh: )

I's suggest a steakhouse, too. I like Smith and Wollensky's, ( caveat: I have a relationship with owners) in addition to Holly's Palm and Morton's suggestion.

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We're in magazine publishing, not too stuffy, looking for something fun. No steakhouse or Italian! I put in calls to Buddakan, Astral Plane, and Tangerine, but would really appreciate input.

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Astral Plane might be a little cramped for you, but I do love the place. Your requirement list made me think of Fork, on Market off 3rd street. Great food, a nice airy space that could accommodate a large party, and VERY good, creative food, not stuffy at all, very hip. I think you would love it.

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We're in magazine publishing, not too stuffy, looking for something fun.  No steakhouse or Italian!  I put in calls to Buddakan, Astral Plane, and Tangerine, but would really appreciate input.

Okay in May, I'm assuming a weeknight?

Any Starr place (other than Tangerine, there's L'Ange Bleu, Pod, Morimoto, Buddakan, Alma de Cuba, Continental) would fit as far as vibe.

I do think for 20 you'd prefer a private room, and I'm not sure how funky the private room would be.

Alma de Cuba comes to mind as the best fit among the Starr choices, because I expect he would have kept the banquet room intact from when it was Le Colonial with cosmetic changes.

More info anyone?

Cuban fusion, Douglas Rodriguez from Manhattan's Chicama and Pipa

(now finito??) and Ola/Ole is the chef figurehead, Jose Garces runs it on a day to day.

Continuing on the private room route... actually I can't, because I haven't seen enough of them.

Okay fun vibe, hopefully you'll find a good fit.

Trust, Los Catrines (Tequila's name in their new location), Adriatica.

Fork and Novelty would probably also be quite good.

NOTE: never really eaten at Trust, nor Fork, nor Adriatica, nor any of the Starr places except Morimoto)

Based on the places you called, I'd go with Novelty, Alma de Cuba, Trust, or Adriatica as the best balance between vibe, food, and functionality of space.

Feel free to give more qualifiers. PM if necessary.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Bethb:

Sorry we couldn't accomodate you at Striped Bass, but May is going to be difficult at almost any top restaurant (depending on the EXACT date of your dinner) because of the multitude of graduations all over town. There are parents, grandparents and siblings from all over the planet descending on Philadelphia to watch Muffy graduate from Penn, Drexel, Temple, etc. There isn't a hotel room or a restaurant reservation to be had ANYWHERE some weeks. Depends on your exact date, but it's going to be tough, I think.

Brasserie Perrier has a lovely private room on the second floor. Capital Grille is a fabulous steakhouse, and far better than the others in town IMHO. White Dog Cafe in West Philadelphia is also quite nice. Perhaps if you check some of the restaurants in Manayunk or the suburbs you might have better luck. I don't know how "transportable" your group is, but I suspect they might get around better than some of the out-of-towners I've had the displeasure of dealing with at graduation time at various restaurants in the past :blink:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Another great spot is Tequilla's.  Upscale Mexican above and beyond border fare.  Regional Mexican cuisine from all over Mexico.

Can I talk about my problems with Tequila's, and why I haven't been there in well over a year, despite having been there probably 20 times over the last several?

Well, I'll take the risk that I can. Here are my problems with Tequila's, and why I won't be back there anytime soon:

1. Are they still not taking reservations? If they aren't, it's bullshit. They have plenty of room for it. The whole "waiting for dinner in the lobby" thing lost its charm a LONG time ago, and lost the last bit of its charm when they moved into that big building and you still have to wait out in the entry. If this has changed, I'd love to know it, but I suspect it hasn't.

2. The [edited myself to tone down "gall" to pettiness] when it comes to certain parts of the bill. I don't care how much he paid to renovate the place: charging for every fountain soda refill, charging for every basket of chips, in a restaurant where entrees cost $20+, is completely pointless cheapness, and for my money, ain't gonna fly. If I go out with 5 people and dinner costs $200-250 just for the food, I don't expect to be charged $10 for fountain cokes, and another $3 for a basket of tortilla chips.

I'll always appreciate Tequila's for introducing me to high-end Mexican food, and its quality and authenticity was affirmed to me when I went to Mexico--as far as the food goes, they got it right from top to bottom, in my experience. But the plain ol' [edited to say nickel & diming] turns me off to the point where I won't go there unless someone else is paying.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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really?

the one time i went there service was good. it was in the first month or so they were open,

possible things have changed drastically.

but your service policy descriptions would make me not want to go as well.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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1. Are they still not taking reservations?  If they aren't, it's bullshit.  They have plenty of room for it.  The whole "waiting for dinner in the lobby" thing lost its charm a LONG time ago, and lost the last bit of its charm when they moved into that big building and you still have to wait out in the entry.  If this has changed, I'd love to know it, but I suspect it hasn't.

2. The [edited myself to tone down "gall" to pettiness] when it comes to certain parts of the bill.  I don't care how much he paid to renovate the place: charging for every fountain soda refill, charging for every basket of chips, in a restaurant where entrees cost $20+, is completely pointless cheapness, and for my money, ain't gonna fly.  If I go out with 5 people and dinner costs $200-250 just for the food, I don't expect to be charged $10 for fountain cokes, and another $3 for a basket of tortilla chips.

I've avoided Tequilla's on Friday and Saturday as I do any place that won't take reservations. But it doesn't stop me from eating there for lunch and on weekdays.

No problem being charged for refills on soda. That's pretty standard for higher end restaurants I think.

Mixed feelings about the charge for chips and salsa. They comp a decent sized portion at the start of the meal. I suspect they fear you won't order apps if you have too many plates of chips. At the same time it probably should be so stated on the menu.

However I'm such a big fan of Tequilla's - probably the best Mexican Cuisine I've had outside of Las Manitas in Cuernavaca - that I wouldn't let such things keep me from them.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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However I'm such a big fan of Tequilla's - probably the best Mexican Cuisine I've had outside of Las Manitas in Cuernavaca - that I wouldn't let such things keep me from them.

Yeah, you're right--I was coming across more stridently than I really mean to--and I should head back soon. The first time I had the pork molcajetes there was a total revelation to me; it's still one of my favorite dishes in the world. I should really learn how to make that. Also the filete grito, I think--the one that's speared through with serrano peppers? Man oh man. Also, one of the things I learned from going there with Mexican friends: there's a salsa that is made of habaneros, onions, lime juice and sometimes a little soy sauce that's ridiculously hot but very tasty. It's called ichnipec (sp?--a web search turned up nothing, but the guy who taught me what it was used to work there, so I know that's what it's called).

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Hi

I recommend Opus 251 for this dinner. I am nearly positive that they have enough room--I think they may even have a private room. The food is quite good, the wine list is reasonable, and the service is very polite. My mom has had several business dinners there recently.

I also dare to venture that Bella might be able to accomodate you, if you were looking for a something a bit more casual.

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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The first time I had the pork molcajetes there was a total revelation to me; it's still one of my favorite dishes in the world.  I should really learn how to make that.

Have you had the molcajetes at Taqueria Morroleone in Kennett Square? Even better than Tequila's, in my opinion, and only eleven bucks. Of course, you have to get out to Kennett Square first...

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Had my heart set on Buddakan, but it was nixed--too expensive.  I'm between White Dog Cafe and Bella--any thoughts?

They're both good, but the White Dog might work a little better for you. They have a little wider menu, which would help accomodate 20 people. And I know that they have private rooms; not sure about Bella.

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bella doesn't have a private room.

their dining room is composed of 2 connected rooms side by side , 1 slightly smaller.

I imagine they would just give you 1 of them.

white dog cafe's private room may be better.

however, if your date coincides with penn's graduation, or just happens to have numerous penn folk in early for whatever reason, it is just as likely that they wil not be willing to accomodate you because they are likely to fill themselves with university folk in smaller groups.

i'd suggest narrowing your dates down to 2, and restaurants to 3. and then just making the calls.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Have you had the molcajetes at Taqueria Morroleone in Kennett Square?  Even better than Tequila's, in my opinion, and only eleven bucks.  Of course, you have to get out to Kennett Square first...

I can't say I have. Last time I was in Kennett I went to..... OK I don't remember the name. It was where you get off 1 at Avondale, and then make a left at the end of the ramp onto that other road, which a little while later merges at kind of a sharp angle onto another semi-major road, and it's about 1/4 mile up there on the right.... as you can see I don't know the western suburbs very well, but anyway there's a taqueria/grocery part and then next door a nicer restaurant? You know the one I'm talking about? Anyway, next time I'm in Kennett I'm definitely going to Moroleone--I've heard far too much about it to stay away. In the meantime, I'm continuing to frequent the places down on Washington Ave.

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I can't say I have.  Last time I was in Kennett I went to..... OK I don't remember the name.  It was where you get off 1 at Avondale, and then make a left at the end of the ramp onto that other road, which a little while later merges at kind of a sharp angle onto another semi-major road, and it's about  1/4 mile up there on the right....  as you can see I don't know the western suburbs very well, but anyway there's a taqueria/grocery part and then next door a nicer restaurant?  You know the one I'm talking about? 

Er... no idea. Obviously I don't know the western suburbs either... :rolleyes: You'll like Moroleone, I think. I like it better than the Washington Ave spots (though I haven't tried Plaza Garibaldi). But unlike those places, you actually have to plan a trip in advance...

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