How to Throw an Upscale Dinner Party With Takeout

Lighten your lift with delivery.

5 min read
Cav Blog - L'artusi

If throwing a post-pandemic dinner party still feels like a really heavy lift, we’ve got a solution for that. You can still impress guests with top-quality food, peerless ambience, and a night to remember right in your very own home — without having to spend hours cooking. No, we’re not suggesting bringing in the catering brigades (well, not this time, anyway). We’re talking about the kind of party that comes together via delivery from the best restaurants. With DoorDash and Caviar, the options are endless. Premium functions make ordering easier; your home can operate like its own bespoke restaurant. Here’s how to make it happen with us on your side. 

Do it family-style. 

“When it comes to upscale events, family-style is king,” says Sam Schwab, owner of Connecticut-based boutique catering company Locavore Kitchen. “There’s something so special about sharing food with family and friends,” she says. From a practical standpoint, Schwab says, serving food family-style will help make your event even more successful. “The food will keep temperature and travel better than individual portions, and hosts don’t have to worry about plating each dish.” One key to ordering family-style is choosing dishes that represent a broad spectrum of diets and tastes: seafood, meat, carbohydrates, vegetarian. Offer dishes that everyone can eat, and then dig in! 

Stagger it.

If you do prefer to serve courses, there is a way to execute that brilliantly, too. Make multiple orders, and schedule when you wish for them to arrive. Living in New York? You can schedule an order for the Plateau, a seafood tower, from Blue Ribbon Brasserie, followed by the restaurant’s Paella Basquez. The shellfish will be ice cold, the paella piping hot, and not one forkful will suffer. 

Consider it.

For the perfect at-home-delivery dinner party where you want flexibility when timing your courses, consider foods that will reheat well, says Schwab, since not all foods are created equal. “Ordering foods that are suitable for reheating, or that can be enjoyed warm, is key,” she says. “If reheating, a good tip would be to ask the restaurant to put garnishes and sauces in separate containers.” Many of DoorDash's and Caviar’s restaurants are mindful of how food travels. Ivan Ramen in New York, for instance, sends the broth separate from the noodles, with instructions for reheating at home. And Get Maine Lobster, a national partner, can ship both live lobsters and lobster roll kits, which can help with temperature control. As far as items that can be served well warm, Schwab suggests salmon, steak, and quiche. 

Group it.

Similar to eating in a restaurant, DoorDash and Caviar offer a group order feature, allowing guests to order exactly what dish they like (if you’ve ever used a point-of-sale system in a restaurant which assigns dishes to seat numbers, you may be familiar with this already). This way, guests have control over specifics, like the temperature of their meat, individual dietary restrictions, and other peccadilloes that may be difficult to control in family-style settings. 

Pair it. 

DoorDash DoubleDash and Caviar Pairings allow diners to pair dessert from a different restaurant with no extra fees (after checkout, an option will appear to add something extra to the order from a nearby store, such as New York’s famed Levain cookies). Adding on dessert to an already magnificent delivery meal is just one more way to up the ante on a dinner party that is sure to impress guests — even if you aren’t technically the one wielding the knife skills. There are other pairings options, too, if your guests have less of a sweet tooth. Add on coffees, teas, or even an alcoholic beverage for a comprehensive meal that feels just as memorable as one you might have in a fine dining restaurant in any major city. 

Display it.

“I think the biggest misconception about ordering food is that it won’t look good,” says Schwab, “but you can absolutely put your own stamp on it.” The best way to do this, she says, is by using your favorite dishes and serving platters. “If you do plan on re-plating, though, make sure to ask the restaurant to deliver the meal deconstructed so you can assemble directly onto your dishes. Depending on the restaurant, you may even be able to get a photo of what the dish should look like.” She suggests lighting candles and adding flowers to set the mood. The table, Schwab says, is part of dinner, and is just one more element in creating a dinner party that guests are sure to remember.