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Waiters in tuxedos, diners in sequins, cigar smoke in the backroom lounge, a two-person, triple-digit surf-and-turf plate—this is Seattle? Yeah, dollface, and brought to you by a restaurateur who prizes the sheer theater of the dining experience. Truth be told, we still miss the original El Gaucho, the real-deal ’50s supper club that held down Seventh and Olive by the sheer weight of its patrons’ pinkie rings, but a straight shot of retro has been injected into this sprawling Belltown homage—from the banquettes to the pianist, from the showy tableside preparations (including a flaming bananas Foster) to the candlelight-only shimmer of what has to be the darkest dinner house in town. The result is a showstopper if you want to impress a date, a variable performer foodwise (stick with the beef), a sensational place to tipple (there’s even an inn upstairs in Belltown)—in short, an unabashed celebration of all legal forms of adult indulgence. A newer location lights up downtown Bellevue.


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