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Seattle - Dinner for Large Group of Out-of-Towners

h
HungWeiLo Jul 25, 2007 11:29 AM

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!

  1. barleywino Jul 25, 2007 11:45 AM

    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...

    1. h
      howard 1st Jul 26, 2007 10:22 AM

      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.

      1. Pamela Jul 26, 2007 10:27 AM

        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/

        1. c
          christy319 Jul 26, 2007 12:15 PM

          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.

          1. eternalX Jul 26, 2007 05:29 PM

            umi? They are from Hong Kong. Why would you take them to umi? I'm sure they get much better in Hong Kong.

            I think Salty's is a bit blah but Pamela is right, my Chinese mother-in-law loves it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: eternalX
              barleywino Jul 26, 2007 06:59 PM

              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)

              1. re: barleywino
                eternalX Jul 27, 2007 11:22 AM

                umi is inexpensive? Are we talking about the same place on 1st ave?

                1. re: eternalX
                  barleywino Jul 29, 2007 02:15 PM

                  that's why i said happy hour (which goes until 8 in the outer section, until 6 in the inner section)

            2. e
              ethereal Jul 27, 2007 08:55 AM

              Maybe check out Pasta Freska (Lake Union). www.pastafreska.com. They'd likely have to split you into 2 tables, or more tables in the back area that you could have to yourself. It's Italian, no menu. Mike the owner/chef just comes out and asks the likes/dislikes of the group, and starts bringing you food from there. Each person will likely get a sampling of 5-7 different entrees from the broiled eggplant appetizer to chicken marsala to salad to pasta. The meal is finished off with dessert platters. It's casual and fun, but in my opinion, the food is far superior to Buca.

              Wine is done in a similar manner where he brings you several bottles. I believe that cost is $25/person w/o drinks, and $35/person w/wine.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ethereal
                barcelona Jul 27, 2007 09:37 AM

                GO TO this place!! I guarantee you will love it!

                Tamarind Tree
                1036 South Jackson Street
                Seattle, Washington

                1. re: barcelona
                  m
                  mrnelso Jul 29, 2007 07:35 PM

                  I have taken groups of your size to TT and had a good experience. Service can be a little spotty, but they do OK and the food is very good. Look around this site for recommendations for particular dishes. Get the Tamarind Tree Rolls, the pickled bon bon salad (mango & papaya good, too), the coconut drink. Tham makes his own ice cream - yum. Bo Bai Mon is an extravaganza, but you can get the best part, the Bo La Lot, separately. Duck noodles.

              2. h
                HungWeiLo Jul 31, 2007 01:30 PM

                Thanks for all your suggestions. I did end up taking my family to Beppo, and it was a huge hit with them (food and lots and lots of drinks ended up about $20-$25pp). But then I could have taken them to Olive Garden and they probably would have liked the "Italian" food too. I just thought Beppo's atmosphere would be fun for them.

                I will use your suggestions, however, for when I take my local friends (i.e. my free florists, helpers, etc.) for a thank-you dinner.

                1 Reply
                1. re: HungWeiLo
                  eternalX Jul 31, 2007 02:04 PM

                  Congrats on marriage!

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