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Jan 23, 2010 11:25 PM

Need Restaurant Recommendations for Graduation Meal near Stanford

Hi - My daughter is graduating from Stanford in June and I'm looking for a fun place to celebrate. There will be 17 of us, including five girls between the ages of 5 and 10 - they're not picky eaters, and are all well behaved, but loud and fun would be best. Nola is ideal but they don't open until 5:30 on Sundays and graduation is over around 2:00. We love Bodeguita del Medio for Cuban food but they're closed on Sundays, as is Zibbibo. I've looked into Reposado, but don't really want to do Mexican. SO, any other suggestions out there? I'm looking for great ambience, great food, good bar selections. Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

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  1. 1) Joya appears to be open at that hour. I'm not deeply satisfied and overwhelmed about the food, but my second visit there 2 weeks ago was decent. It does have the fun factor.

    2) martin's west is closed all sunday! What a pity. That's outside the standard loop, has great food (similar to what you say you like).

    3a) Trader Vic's? If it's really Stanford Graduation weekend, call them up and see what's going on. I can't imagine they'd not want to be open on a weekend like that. That'll bias fun way over food, but will be seriously fun.

    3b) Ditto Zibbibo. Graduation weekend is kind of a big deal, others will be in your boat.

    4) Have you eaten at Reposado? We've been very happily surprised by the place, and I'm not a fan of sit-down mexican. The upstairs section there could be all yours, which would be fun.

    5) I'm going to put Old Pro on the list just because they are open at that hour, and the food was surpringly good. I don't think the girls are tall enough to ride the mechanical bull, however.

    1. this is an easy 15 minute drive south but Xanh may be a decent call as would be Cascal in downtown Mountain View. Both are trendy, popular and fun (i like the food at Xanh more). I'm almost sure Cascal will be open...unsure about Xanh.

      8 Replies
      1. re: vis

        Xahn appears to never do lunch - 5:30 every day.

        Trying to book on OpenTable with Cascal shows 2pm slots then a hole until 5pm. Calling might be in order - and they might stay open for a group of 20.

        More importantly, how's about a review of Cascal's food? I've walked by the place suspiciously a few times.

        1. re: bbulkow

          Ambiance, decor and location beat the food in my opinion. they've figured out a good formula to keep them filled and very popular for many years now - i think the tables outside and the inside room look great. i've eaten there a few times and always felt the food was just OK yet they keep bringing in the crowds so perhaps i'm missing something. for a crowd of young college graduates and their family looking for a lively place i can see it being lots of fun but i wouldn't call it a foodie spot. Drinks are good - decent sangria, lots of wine, big bar.

          1. re: vis

            THANK YOU everyone that's replied to my original request. I will research all suggestions and let you know what we decide. As much as I want great food, we're leaning towards ambiance and fun - it's a special day we really want to celebrate by having fun and not being in a stuffy restaurant. You would think that some of these restaurants would be open on graduation day, even if they're not the rest of the year, but I've spoken to management at both Nola and Bodeguita, even offered to get some other families to join in, and no luck. Thanks again.

            1. re: mumblycj

              Nuts to them. You might try some of the better hotels, like Madrone up on Sand Hill.

            2. re: vis

              Your review is inspiring trust in my gut reaction not to try it. Maybe some day.

              1. re: bbulkow

                Oh, anyone brave enough to do Restaurant Roulette should try Cascal once! The only clinker was the paella; the tapas dishes were uniformly tasty, ranging from good to excellent. There are other places we like better, so we haven't been back in a while, but the food is pretty good.

                If the original poster is willing to try downtown Mountain View, Sakoon can handle big parties as well as having a private room, and the restaurant appears to be open Sunday afternoons. This is the best Indian restaurant in the Bay area yet the prices are very reasonable for the quality, and it seems to meet all your other criteria as well.


            3. re: bbulkow

              Xanh does a decent lunch buffet M-F. The website lists event planning with rooms to seat 30, 60 and 80. Might be worth bringing another family on board. Only been for lunch, the food was fine. Accessible California style Vietnamese. Groovy lounge atmosphere, sunny streetside patio, full bar.

              1. re: bbulkow

                I ate at Cascal for the first time two weeks ago. The food was better than I expected, and quite reasonable for our party of 4. I had a glass of Lustau Palo Cortado sherry. My friend was undecided about what beer to order and our server brought her complimentary tastes to help her choose, which was a nice touch.

                Best dishes were:
                Brazilian scallop ceviche - beats out a lot of so-so scallop preps I've had lately
                Tapas sampler platter was a good deal at $23, liked the pulpo a la gallega, chicken liver mousse, eggplant piquillo, and tuna escabeche a lot
                and Casuela negra - fideo in squid ink with tender shellfish

                Not so great:
                Beef empanadas
                Hearts of palm salad
                Short rib adobo

                Liked the fun atmosphere very much, and was happy that I could find something worth eating and drinking too.

                400 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                Xanh Restaurant
                110 Castro St, Mountain View, CA

            4. So I know it's a semi-chain and food is, well, it is what it is, not horrible. But if you want a fun place that the young ones would like, try Buca di Beppo. I believe they only take reservations for a big group.

              1. Ming's Chinese restaurant is always good for big parties (if you like Chinese food) The have a bar and it has a nice big set up.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MT650

                  Hi everyone, I just wanted to report on our graduation meal. I'm a little behind, since it was a month ago, but you were all so great with your suggestions I wanted to let you know where we ate, etc. We ended up at Xanh. They opened up their restaurant two hours early for us, and were extremely gracious. There were 16 of us, we ordered a few appetizers for the table that we thought the kids would like (calamari, chicken sate, potstickers) and then had everyone order their own appetizers as well. I must have tried six or seven of the appetizers and all were delicious. Favorites were the shrimp clouds, ahi tuna roll, and crab martinis. Papaya salad was a big hit too. For entrees several of us had the shaking beef (cubed filet mignon) that was outstanding, and the catfish in the clay pot got rave reviews too. The kids loved the noodle dishes. We had a variety of drinks - my mom loved the lychee martinis, I went with mojitos, my husband had sake. We had lots of different tastes and everyone left satisfied. The service was wonderful, as was the ambience and the presentation of all the dishes. And, we ended up spending way less than we thought we would. So, overall, Xanh gets an A+ for being accommodating, for food, service, presentation, ambience and price. Thanks again to all for your suggestions. My only disappointment is that now that my daughter has graduated we won't have as many reasons to be in the area!

                  Xanh Restaurant
                  110 Castro St, Mountain View, CA