I’ve been in Seattle the last few weeks, trying to cope with all the mayhem of moving my mother out of her home, (surrounded by movers, painters, and realtors) and into a condo we’re remodeling, (surrounded by movers, painters and handymen) when her refrigerator chose this highly inopportune moment to gasp out it’s last dying breath@#$%^&*&^%$#!

El Gaucho- The Inn.

We desperately needed a break from all the madness so we decided to escape to El Gaucho’s for an indulgent overnight. I heard that they had added an inn above the renowned restaurant for a perfect one-stop gas-saving getaway right in the hipster-heart of Belltown, so we decided to go early and walk to the Pike Place Market for a little afternoon shopping.

As we climbed the steep steps to the inn’s upstairs lobby, our woes simply melted away. With its “retro-swank” fifties decor, we happily went back to the good ol’ days, full of excellent service and attention to detail. (The Inn’s 24-hour concierge service is available to assist you with procuring tickets, town car service, and any other arrangements to ensure a delightful stay. I particularly appreciated the El Gaucho “welcome” bag with a big bottle of water, a great CD, and yummy homemade choc-chip cookie,) combined with the ultimate in modern conveniences: plasma screen TV with full high-definition digital cable, Bose Wave music system and high speed Internet, both wired and wireless. When we discovered the luxurious Anichini linens and bathrobes, we were tempted to jammie-up and just order room service from the Inn’s namesake restaurant, the incomparable El Gaucho.

Revived after a brief nap, we instead put on a little something black, and headed downstairs for dinner, passing a fashionably dressed group of young women, sipping Cosmo’s, who had just come up from the basement. Turns out there’s a unique theater/ partyroom/ bar set-up downstairs, and they had just left the movie theater currently showing “Sex in the City”, which was included in their special “Girls Night Out Package” which offered: One night stay, Valet Parking, El Gaucho Bites, Veuve Clicquot and Moet Chandon Champagne, Cosmos, Flirt-tini’s, Tart-tini’s and Classic Martini’s, Movie tix, Movie popcorn, Fabulous Sex and the City Gift Bag!

El Gaucho- The Restaurant.
The restaurant was even more delightfully retro than the inn. The dark dining room oozes old time Hollywood atmosphere with it’s flickering candlelight, tuxedoed wait-staff, cigar lounge and a piano player softly tinkling old favorites seated below the circular tiers of booths.

The menu was filled with the best of the classics, presented with great flair.
The Wicked Shrimp provided a wicked beginning, bathed in a succulent cream sauce with a kick-start of heat. Then our extremely professional server wheeled over a large cart and proceeded to whip, grate, and toss us a perfect Caesar Salad. Even though we didn’t order the shishkabob, we were thrilled when the neighboring table did and it arrived with pomp and circumstance, carried by two servers who provided the fireworks by repeatedly basting the yardstick long skewers with great whooshes of flaming brandy.

For my entrée, I ordered the Ostrich, which arrived tender and perfectly accented by the slightly-sweet Madeira mushroom sauce. My mother had the salmon, which for $60.00 was really nothing special, and was undercooked (even though she had requested it cooked through) as well as under-seasoned. Our side of macaroni and cheese more than made up for it, swimming in creamy cheesy decadence and we scarfed down ever last spoonful.

Sadly, we were too full for the Bananas Foster although we did appreciate the light-show when another table ordered it.

A nibble of fruit and cheese from the assorted basket that came with our bill and then we contentedly climbed the stairs to bed.

El Gaucho
2501 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
Tel: (206) 728-1337