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A Southern California version of New York restaurateur Charlie Palmer's catering operation Astra, housed in New York's Decoration & Design Building, is the newest tenant of Los Angeles' Pacific Design Center. The Lounge at Astra launched in December, while the more formal Astra West is scheduled to open in February. With the two spaces, Astra can accommodate sit-down dinners for 20 to 1,200 guests and cocktail parties for up to 3,000, according to managing partner Spero Plavoukos.

The Lounge at Astra, located on the ground level of the Pacific Design Center's Green Building, features decor that is “a blend of 2001 meets 3001, with a wink towards 1972,” Plavoukos said. Astra West, on the third floor of the center's Blue Building, blends earth tones, wood panels and lighting effects to create “contemporary elegance [that] is not overly stuffy.”

Describing Astra West and The Lounge at Astra as part of a new catering movement that focuses on quality of food ingredients, presentation and service, Plavoukos explained, “The way we do a catered event — it's not cooked in a kitchen, then warmed up in a heating box and served to a mass of people.” Instead, he said, his culinary staff prepares food “a la minute” in two state-of-the-art kitchens that have enough plating spaces to serve large events.

“We were successful in New York and we're doing the same thing we did in New York here,” he added. “People in L.A. appreciate good food and service, and that's what we're going to provide.”

Astra West/The Lounge at Astra
8687 Melrose Ave.
Pacific Design Center
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Undercover Party Rentals, with offices in Santa Barbara and Ventura, Calif., has officially changed its name to Undercover Event Rents, reflecting an expansion of services to serve the needs of large events. Undercover Event Rents, 6464 Hollister Ave., Suite 5, Santa Barbara, CA 93117; 805/685-9920.

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