Tammy Nguyen is in charge of coordinating holiday events at Triple 8 China Bar & Grill. The L.A. Live restaurant opened in May and features dishes from regions across China.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – Triple 8 China Bar & Grill opened in May, filling the old Trader Vic’s space at L.A. Live. While the restaurant might be a newcomer, owners Michael Kwan and Kerry Moy are veterans of the Downtown restaurant scene, as they are also behind Wokcano, Spear and a few other establishments.

Eight is the luckiest Chinese number, and Kwan and Moy are trying to get lucky with their xiao long bao — or soup dumplings — one of the latest hot local restaurant trends. Triple 8 also features dishes from regions across China, such as hot and sour soup, kung pao chicken, garlic seafood noodles, and high-end options like Peking duck and Wagyu beef.

Tammy Nguyen, Triple 8’s executive events coordinator, is gearing up for the new restaurant’s first Downtown holiday party season.

Los Angeles Downtown NewsWhat kind of trends or themes are you expecting this year when it comes to holiday parties?

Tammy Nguyen: The trend lately has been toward reception-format parties with buffet-style or tray-passed dishes as opposed to sit-down dinners. Companies want their employees to mingle instead of sitting in one spot for an entire event.

QHow soon should people start planning a holiday party?

A: We start locking down events in October. But obviously, the earlier you start planning the better your rate will be. Starting in June or July is the best time to get a good rate and the date and time you want.

QHow much should a company expect to spend for an office holiday party at Triple 8?

A: We are flexible with budgets, but we tend to range from $5,000, including food and beverage, for a private event in one of our dining rooms, to $15,000 or $20,000 for a full buy-out. We can also do partial buy-outs. The price depends on what a company wants and how many guests will be attending.

QShould there be entertainment offered at the party, such as music or a show? 

A: It’s not necessary to bring in live entertainment to make a party successful, but music is always nice. We have a great sound system, and often guests will pick a satellite radio station to play during the event. We can’t do live entertainment, although we can feature something like a solo guitarist. We can also bring in a mixologist who will show people how to make a cocktail, or a noodle chef who will create and then cook noodles for the guests to enjoy.

QWhat are your recommendations for making a work event more fun?

A: It’s always fun when a portion of the evening is dedicated to a gifting game, like a white elephant or secret Santa.

QWhat size crowds does Triple 8 handle?

A: We have a private dining room that will hold up to 20 people, another that will hold up to 50 seated guests or 60 for a reception-style event, and we can go all the way up to 400 or maybe even 450 with a full restaurant buy-out.

QWhat food items or specialties do you offer for a holiday party menu?

A: We want to keep the food we offer classic and true to the identity of our menu and theme, so we don’t have a special holiday menu, but our venue will have decorative elements that will add flavor to every holiday party that’s hosted here.

 QHow do you accommodate vegetarians?

A: Our menu offers many vegetarian options, and our chef can create special items that will work with any dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and vegan diets.

QIf it’s an office party, should booze be allowed?

A: Your employees do so much for you, and the holiday party is the one day where they can all let loose and have some fun celebrating the holiday, so yes, alcohol should definitely be allowed. It can be a great addition to any party as long as it’s under control and people keep it respectful and don’t go overboard.

QWhat is the biggest mistake people make when planning a holiday party?

A: If there’s a lot of set-up, like bringing in equipment or decorations, sometimes clients don’t allow themselves enough time. In many cases these holiday parties are held on a weekday, and employees are still taking care of all the tasks of a normal workday and don’t allow themselves enough time to get everything set up properly.

Triple 8 is at 800 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 747-3700 or triple8restaurant.com

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2015

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