I need your help, my dear Hounds..
In just a little over a month's time, I'll be graduating from UCLA (Sociology major, Education minor, if you're wondering.. which you weren't, I'm certain..). When at last the pomp & circumstance and fanfare of the commencement ceremony has ended, my family (and a few friends) would like to gather at a nearby restaurant to celebrate. A few "family-friendly" places like California Pizza Kitchen and Olive Garden were suggested by a few in my family, but those restaurant are sure to be packed solid with other grads (both restaurants are situated right in the heart of Westwood Village - sure to be a madhouse that night). Those aside, I've come up with a couple of alternative contenders: Versailles and Zip Fusion (if only for the "atmosphere").. However, my family does Versailles quite a bit (and I'd rather do something a little different), and Zip Fusion's menu isn't exactly "conventional" - I think a few friends and family members wouldn't know what to order (moreover, I've heard the food is really lackluster).
Maybe you can help. What I'm looking for is a restaurant that can easily host a party of about 15 people, in the $10-15 price range for most entrees, with a touch of class and a "good" (anything from hip to "fun" to festive to elegant to chic) atmosphere. Italian is always good, but so is Asian (so long as there are a few "white-friendly" dishes on the menu - a few in my family consider teriyki chicken "exotic," so no place that specializes in squid hot pots, if you know what I mean). I'm of course open to other cuisines, as well (know of a perfect Greek restaurant? Great! Polish? Do tell!).
Preferably, the restaurant would not be directly in Westwood Village, but also no further than Santa Monica or Culver City.
Thanks so much for your help, and I'll be sure to come back with a review of whichever restaurant we all end up at.
PS - Anyone been to Byblos on Westwood? I hear they have belly dancing and decent food.. might be fun. Does anyone recommend it?