Seattle - Dinner for Large Group of Out-of-Towners
I am getting married this Saturday, and have family coming in from Hong Kong and I need to treat them for dinner as a welcoming gesture. It will be a grand total of 20 people. Since they just got done spending a week in Vancouver, I would rather not embarrass myself and attempt to take them out to Chinese food. What other good places should I consider? Off the top of my head, Buca di Beppo would be fun, and not too terribly expensive. Thanks!
if you're looking for inexpensive and casual, how about happy hour at Umi sake lounge? http://www.umisakehouse.com/Menu.aspx your group might enjoy this type of food/drink more than spaghetti and meatballs...)
(assuming you're going to host a more formal "real" dinner later on in the week
if they really have their hearts set on "American" food (and you are looking for inexpensive and group-friendly) there's always Cheesecake Factory...
there is a private room at the steelhead diner (first & pine) just the right size for your family and a large enough assortment of wonderful and affordable northwest-inspired american foods to please them all - i am sure they can arrange a special menu for you or just allow everyone to choose from the standard offerings - i have also seen a portable bar set up in that room.
I second the recommendation for Northwest-inspired food, rather than more generic-American food. I just returned from Seattle, for a brief vacation and to attend my friend's wedding. Her reception was held at Salty's. There was a brunch buffet and it was fantastic! The salmon was excellent, as was the pasta and the apple dumplings. There were crab legs and shrimp cocktail, among other items. (Curiously, people--the men in particular--hoarded the bacon.)
As you probably know, Asians love seafood and many of them seem to love buffets (I say this as an Asian-American, but not one who is really fond of buffets), so I would probably recommend sticking to seafood, which Seattle specializes in anyway.
Here's Salty's website: http://www.saltys.com/
I went to a birthday dinner at Buca di Beppo once, and though the food wasn't as horrible as I expected, the one notable thing about it was the sheer din of the place. I have never been to any other place where you literally had to yell to be heard. If you actually want people in your group to be able to talk, and especially if the group contains older people who have even the slightest hearing loss, it would be a very bad choice.
of course they get better in Hong Kong, but if they are anything like my Asian relatives and friends from HK, they would much rather have fair-to-mediocre Asian food (which at least is somewhat familiar to their palate) than fair-to-mediocre red-sauce Italian (or other "foreign") food...of course i'm just guessing...also unfortunately the OP's options are limited when he says he is looking for inexpensive for 20 (I think Salty's might be out of his price range, if he is looking for something comparable pricewise to Buca di Beppo)