Went to Hal's in Venice last night for a friend's 40th birthday with a party of five. My advice is to give it a skip.
First, it is a happening scene - in other words, it is too freaking noisy to hear someone across the table from you. If you enjoy yelling at your dinner partners, saying "Huh?" a lot, and making hand gestures, this is a great spot.
The good news is that the New York steak, caesar salad and french fries are excellent. The bad news is that everything else was either oddly flavored (carrot-ginger soup with not a hint of carrot flavor but overpowering ginger) or not flavored (osso buco) at all.
My eggplant goat cheese ravioli tasted neither of eggplant nor goat cheese, except for one brief glimpse of goatiness, but were swimming in an overpowering brown butter sauce.
The lamb shank got a poor review as well. The artichoke appetizer was good but overpriced at $9. The appetizer pizza was fine but nothing to get off the couch for.