Mao is long dead, but lives on as themed restaurant in Monterey Park. At Private Party Restaurant the waiters and waitresses are dressed as Communist soldiers. Their green uniforms and red stars on their heads add to a theme of propaganda posters placed on every wall. As a soldier/waiter surveys if anyone needs extra water they fold their hands behind their back in eery military stance that's slightly disconcerting as you eat your food.
Communism doesn't end with the decor as the food you it can be shared from the hot pot you cook it in on your table. You can enjoy a wide variety of food to boil with later added spices and share with your brothers and sisters in the revolution of themed dinner.
Some of the variety of meats varies from the norm, you can get frog or goose intestine if you're feeling adventurous. Don't fret my Communist-food-themed-loving brother or sister they have beef, chicken, vegetables and seafood to plop in the pot. The pot itself does add to the red star theme, taking you out of your normal Korean BBQ habits and making you make do with soup. Seeing it boil before you with friends does make it a communal experience. The pot comes dived though, so you can try to different soup bases. So if you want more spicy on one side or fishy on the other you have a little freedom.
Food was fair, since you're the chef it's your judgment on how to spice it up with a sauce table for you to peruse with a variety to change the flavoring of what you cooked up. Add a skewer or two or whatever number, each being a dollar. They sit on a spot atop your hot pot to slowly roast. You have to get up yourself and grab them from a freezer. A strange choice when you already have a waiter.
At some point the music, which was mostly in Chinese with a women singing switched to Louie Armstrong singing Happy Birthday at random as I saw no one celebrating their birthday. There are private rooms within Private Party where a birthday could've been taking place, so you could have a private party at Private Party.
Private Party's Communist decor, Asian restaurant aesthetic and many uniformed waitstaff become part of a picture that looks like a propaganda poster itself, that you become a part of. With the sound of a simmering hot pot and the smell of boiling spices with a friendly Communist soldier asking if you would like a refill of your Coke it's hard to pass up living in a moment of that propaganda poster.
A true moment or night out with friends for bad Communist jokes and maybe trying to act like they do in the movies you've seen while eating you friend. As Mao says, "It is better that some eat well and that some don't eat at all." Don't think about that, because it's much grimmer when you find out the real context that has to do with starving people.
*They don't serve liquor yet, they're waiting to get their license.
*I went in a Commie hat, and got mad props (compliments)
*If you ask nicely the staff will take a photo with you
Private Party Restaurant
Located within the mall, 3rd Floor
111 N Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754
*Closes at 3pm, opens at 5pm
|Mon||11:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Tue||11:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Wed||11:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Thu||11:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Fri||11:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Sat||11:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Sun||11:00 am - 11:00 pm|