Last Minute… Dinner Party for 24!

So anyone that knows me, knows I tend to do things last minute. Successful, but still last minute. This past Friday was my moms 60th birthday and we had a lot of family coming to town for Memorial Day yet no concrete plans. Of course at 9pm, while casually hanging with a house full of kids and adults, we decide to go to dinner.

My immediate thoughts were, this isn’t even possible. It’s Friday night on a holiday weekend, everything has to be booked or crowded as people are out celebrating early. Of course my sister Camille’s (who you’ll get to know throughout the blog) first thought was upscale-  which us parents know, wasn’t even an option because we had children in our party. Her recommendations were probably still filled with those still lingering from happy hour anyway. My moms suggestions were all chain restaurants, and while I’m against going to chain restaurants, it was her birthday so I called 3 places all of which could not accommodate us. Lucky me!  (FYI- I do support chains, my favorite food is buffalo wings and I’m a avid supporter of Buffalo Wild Wings however I always prefer to support small and local. You will probably NEVER see me promote a chain restaurant on this blog unless for some reason the service is amazing or there’s a strong Cleveland connection even though then, I still doubt it.

Moving on, after being told restaurant after restaurant,  we don’t have a private room, we don’t have space in our dining room, you need to book that size at least 24 hours in advance, the wait will be 2 hours… I was back to thinking dad take mom out to dinner and we can have a pizza party for the kids. However, my mom was persistent that she wanted to spend the evening with her entire family. So then it hit me! What’s easier than having to go to a restaurant and order 24 different meals… going somewhere that can do family style! Less work for us and less work for them!

I began to think of places that might not be as crowded on a Friday, a mom and pop restaurant, possibly immigrant owned, and with a lot of space. I called a place I thought would be perfect only to be told there were closing at 9:30pm. They offered to stay open for our party and I confirmed we would come. Of course I shared it with the family and everyone was immediately against Asian food!  My response at this point was, you should be happy there’s a place willing to accommodate our entire party and willing to stay open past business hours. Not just that but the food is superb and we would be the only family there. This is where I say to readers- GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! Who said Asian can’t be fun or fancy? TRY SOMETHING NEW!!!!

We started gathering the kids and loading the cars, but by the time it we were finally pulling out it was 9:30pm. I felt we were being inconsiderate. I called the place willing to stay open and cancelled after finding another Asian place a little closer willing to accommodate us.  I think the last minute change in venue was perfect and furthermore my parents were excited to only have to go a few minutes from home. I will cover that other place in the future, I promise- its definitely a great option!

I arrived a few minutes earlier to meet with the owner and thank them for providing the space at such short notice. They gave us a private area with two long king tables which worked out perfectly because we had a kids table and adults table. We had only 20 minutes before the kitchen was closing, so my brother and I took leadership and ordered a fish, a pork, a steak and chicken option all to be served family style and all of which came with rice (so very filling). We also ordered spring and egg rolls as appetizers.

Here’s what we ordered exactly from the menu (many pictured above) in case you want to try: Egg rolls, spring rolls, veggie rolls, Chicken Pad Thai (my favorite), Chicken Lo Mien, Mongolian Beef, Crusted Pork with Hoisin BBQ Sauce, Pan- Fried Scrod (for my dad who only eats fish) and Fried Rice.

We had so much food to share! It was the perfect amount, and we literally just ordered two of everything. They even brought out a cake for my mom with a candle and dimmed the lights so we could sing Happy Birthday. I have to say the service was exceptional! We had two servers designated to us and they were so timely with all of our request. The owner Rose, even came over a few times to make sure everything was going well which it was. More importantly they were so good with the kids! Bryce, my 1 year old had a high chair so he could sit at the table (essentially to eat with his hands and make a mess), but the other kids range (age 4-15) had a great time! They tried to eat with chopsticks, they spilled a lot of soy sauce, they laughed ridiculously loud (as kids do) and it was okay! No one complained and the parents weren’t concerned. It was a great family setting. Did I mention the atmosphere? the ambiance was great and it was so clean and super cute!

All and all, we ended up spending about $250 in food, $300 in total once the tip was added (quick thanks to my big brother Chris who picked up the tab, everyone can appreciate when someone does that LOL, let’s just be honest!). That’s a GREAT deal for a party this large and for the amount of food and privacy we had. There was no rental fees to use the space, no set menus and no minimum requirements needed to be spent. That’s soooo rare if you’re familiar with planning.

I’d say this place is AWESOME for family night, super cute and cozy for date night (which me and my husband love) and great for small to large parties (granted planning ahead is recommended)! If you want to hang out with your girls, share some food and laughs this place is a different but great option! It also has amazing happy hour specials so… if you’re ever in the Shaker area and looking to try something new… go to The Pearl Asian Kitchen and tell them you read about them on #CourtneyCoversCleveland




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