One popular Seattle steakhouse in getting a big upgrade. El Gaucho — the upscale Pacific Northwest chain that dates back to 1953 — has finished preparations for its spacious new flagship location in Belltown’s historic Union Stables building and plans to open it next Tuesday, November 3.
The 10,000-square-foot restaurant just north of Pike Place Market has a main dining area, four private rooms, and a bar, while keeping many of the same details of the old school original that closed on First Avenue. Among some of the flourishes to the 110-year-old livery horse stable building are an indoor fire pit, fancy cushioned booths, a view of the beef aging room, and some of the distinctive paintings from the former location.
Diners shouldn’t expect much of an overhaul to the menu, which will stick to the tried and true dry-aged cuts of meat, locally-sourced seafood, and decadent sides that made El Gaucho a special occasion draw for many years. The restaurant will also attempt to recreate the doting dine-in experience it was known for pre-pandemic at half capacity, including live piano music and tableside flambés of Bananas Foster.
But for those who don’t want to take the COVID risks associated with dining indoors, there are $160 takeout meals that feed two. Those include a 20-ounce chateaubriand as the main course (along with Caesar salad and key lime pie), or a surf and turf option with king salmon filets and a 28-day dry-aged Niman Ranch tenderloin. Both come with the choice to tack on bottles of wine to go.
In addition to AQUA by El Gaucho by the waterfront and a steakhouse in Bellevue, the new Union Stables flagship is the third outpost in the area. There are also El Gaucho locations in Tacoma and Portland, while an expansion on the Columbia River waterfront in Vancouver, WA, is in the works for spring 2021.