SO YOU’VE BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK when it comes to the region’s restaurants with meeting space. In fact, you might even consider yourself a bit of a business luncheon buff or private-dining maven. It never hurts, however, to check out the latest sites for bites to keep your group dinners from becoming stale. Well, we’ve got you covered, trendsetter, with this list of some of the Northwest’s hottest new spots, all open within the past year.
L’Abattoir / Vancouver, British Columbia
In the heart of Vancouver’s historic Gastown district, L’Abattoir has been serving Frenchinfluenced West Coast fare since 2010, but this June marks the opening of its adjacent event space, which incorporates the industrial-style, exposed-brick and big-beamed ambiance the restaurant is known for. The private dining space has 1,200 square feet of seating, which can be divided into two rooms. Each room can fit up to 24 seated guests, while the combined space seats up to 50 and accommodates 100 standing.
L’Abattoir has prix fixe menus ranging from $40 to $100 per person, but chef Lee Cooper can accommodate other menu requests as well. "Lee is such an inventive chef; he’s happy to change menus up for anybody that comes in," says Dana Harris, L’Abattoir spokesperson.
Red Cow / Seattle
A member of Seattle superstar restaurateur Ethan Stowell’s family of restaurants, this newly opened steak frites destination calls Seattle’s quaint Madrona neighborhood home. A perfect fit for more intimate gatherings, Red Cow can serve up to 40 guests with a Frenchinfluenced menu featuring steak, seafood, charcuterie, salads and more.
Guests can peek through the open bar to get a glimpse of the kitchen, where the chefs are happy to create a custom menu with wine pairings for special occasions. Prix fixe menus are available with three-course dinners ranging from $35 to $68 per person.
Din Din / Portland, Ore.
Originally a roving supper club, Din Din went brick-and-mortar in April 2013 and has since hosted a slew of events ranging from a casual, cocktail-style rustic dinner for 65 to a seated eight-course affair for 50. Flanked by long windows, white walls and a curved walnut ceiling, the space is what owner Courtney Sproule calls "a blank canvas: clean and modern with some nice homey touches."
Versatility is Din Din’s bread and butter. Though the menu leans toward regional French cuisine, chefs often create custom menus from their supply of locally sourced ingredients. The décor often rotates, as well, depending on the theme of the various in-house parties Din Din hosts. So you might find the latest art installation suits you just fine or you can easily embellish this space on your own. "It looks a little bit different every time," Sproule says.
Bar Sajor and The London Plane / Seattle
These two sister restaurants are located across the street from each other and are a collaboration of the teams behind such popular Seattle-area restaurants as Sitka & Spruce, Bar Ferd’nand, Old Chaser Farm and The Corson Building. Both Bar Sajor and The London Plane specialize in menus that emphasize local ingredients. "We’ll work with the client to design something that suits their specific likes and dislikes. We value local farmers and vendors and create menus that highlight what they have to offer," says EunJean Song, director of operations.
Featuring a minimalist yet cozy décor with white-painted brick walls and dark hardwood floors, the private dining room at Bar Sajor can accommodate up to 20 people. The London Plane, on the other hand, has two event spaces to choose from. The Little London Plane is the restaurant’s wine shop and wine bar and can accommodate 40 guests for a seated dinner or 60 guests for a standing reception. The larger London Plane event space can hold up to 60 seated guests or up to 125 for a standing reception. Both spaces are especially bright and airy, showcasing soaring ceilings and large storefront windows. "[For the larger space], we just did a whole buyout for a local company’s product launch," says Song.