Happy Hour: A tale of two El Gauchos
El Gaucho in Seattle: for your birthday or to woo an important client. El Gaucho in Bellevue: for some tapas and small bites.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Happy Hour |
In Belltown, in the dimly lit, cabaretlike ambience of El Gaucho, a vodka cocktail can cost up to $22. A porterhouse: $65. More of an expense-account and celebratory-steak-dinner kinda place. Or maybe you didn't notice.
But the bar is also a haunt for bartenders and waiters. Always follow those in the industry when it comes to happy hour. They are wise on these matters.
El Gaucho serves some prime cuts for $11 and less during happy hour.
A peppery, grilled-steak sandwich, with three slices of 28-day dry-aged filet. A juicy half-pound burger, the filet ground up the same day, one of the best and biggest happy-hour burgers in the city. It's nicely structured: round focaccia bread and a grilled patty, topped with thick bacon strips, Cheddar, onion, tomato, lettuce and Thousand Island dressing, all held together in a wrapper so the toppings don't slide off, so every bite tastes consistent.
Go no further down the menu and you'll be in beef Nirvana.
All else is a bit inconsistent. The spicy Tenderloin Diablo steak was overcooked one time, and too salty on another. The prawn linguine was drowning in butter on one visit and done textbook-perfect al dente a week later.
Bar burgers and steak sandwiches are also served at the El Gaucho in Bellevue, though neither is as grand nor as noteworthy. The Bellevue place has more of a small-bite-and-tapas kinda happy hour, the best being the salty pancetta wrapped around juicy prawns with sweet scallion pesto and some gooey, deep fried mac-and-cheese bites.
El Gaucho, 2505 First Ave., Seattle, 206-728-1337, offers happy hour Sundays and Mondays from 5 p.m. to closing (around 10-11 p.m.) and on Tuesdays-Fridays from 5-7 p.m. with bar food half off and drinks from $4-$6.
El Gaucho, 450 108th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, 425-455-2715, offers happy hour Mondays-Fridays 2-6 p.m. and on Sundays 5-11 p.m. with bar food from $2.25-$12 and drinks from $4.50-$6 (www.elgaucho.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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