The March issue of Seattle Met, besides being a dessert extravaganza, features my review of the new El Gaucho in Bellevue. Word on the street is, it’s a little bit controversial.

The crux is this: El Gaucho is a monstrously expensive restaurant entirely at odds with these lean times. (Here’s the dinner menu.) The place is gonna tank, predict some industry observers, checking their watches. "The restaurant where generations of Bellevue scions will squire their prom dates…" I write in the penultimate sentence. Generations? snark the naysayers. The place will be gone before the curtain goes down on the decade.

Oh ye of little faith! responds The Tablehopper. As I point out, places like El Gaucho let us feel good again. No, it’s not a place to go every night. It might not even be a place to go more than once a year. But for a special occasion, nobody does it up to make diners feel like VIPS more than El Gaucho impresario Paul MacKay.

And I’m going to say that when incomes and prospects and opportunities go down, that need to feel like a VIP goes up in direct proportion. Human nature, dear reader.

Disagree? Think a restaurant with the balls to charge $125 for an entree doesn’t deserve to make it in the current climate?

Oh do write.

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