6370 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood: Anoush Banquet Hall
No doubt oodles of festive fun have been had within this faux fortification in the heart of the Valley. But Anoush's banal, mixed references to the gateways and stonework of historic Roman, Persian and Islamic architectural forms is confused at best, tacky at worst, and amounts to a cultural stereotype on par with Bravo's new reality TV series Shahs of Sunset.
If the symbolic references are supposed to draw us into the mega banquet-hall complex with visions of grandeur and expectations that we're about to be treated like some Byzantine empress -- hopefully with muscle-bound servant men feeding us grapes and pouring wine down our throats -- instead, thanks to the outer facade, we're apt to imagine those interiors looking like the big room at the Department of Motor Vehicles where everybody lines up. We're also thinking they'd better tow away that RV out front, unless of course it belongs to the wedding party.
There are two Anoush locations, one here in NoHo and the other in Glendale, and this particular Anoush offers two ginormous halls for rent, "Le Foyer Ballroom" and "Le Foyer Lounge" -- a flexible space that looks like the room in the role-playing video game Skyrim where you grab the golden claw. The lounge can accommodate gaudy christening parties, as well as intimate, sit-down dinners for 70 and the occasional hot pink, black-lit, open-sushi-bar bat mitzvahs (we're just guessing on that last one -- see the website).
With its too-big, golden address numbers (how could you miss this thing if you were attending a party?), its side billboard, flame-topped security fence, bright red McDonald's roof plopped on top and fire-sprinkler line poking up too high past the hedge, Anoush is a full-service flop when it comes to a few simple design choices.
Surely the most hard-partying, joy-filled wedding-goers can make any joint hum with good vibes and good will, but for the rest of us plebes out on the sidewalk, Anoush is a dumbed-down, cut-n-paste pastiche of tired cultural symbols that hardly pays tribute to the undeniably rich originals the building is trying to copy.