NOTE: August 24th and September 17th UPDATES APPENDED
Here's what we know for sure: longtime Seattle restaurateur Marco Casas-Breaux started the Buenos Aires Grill at 2nd and Virginia Streets, way back when. A decade ago, he took the churrascaria(all-you-can-eat) steakhouse concept to Harbor Steps, named it the Ipanema Grill, and introduced the "wandering gaucho" style of rodizio service to Seattle. A curiosity, a tough sell even for carnivorous Seattle diners. (Photo at right: gaucho Emerson Primo carves lamb.)
Meantime, Daniel K. Yoo, who bought the Buenos Aires, continued to run it, and even expanded into the adjacent lounge space, which became vacant when Whisky Bar moved a block north, and renamed it the Corner Bar.
Are you still there?
Casas-Breaux (remember him?) has since returned to Belltown and taken over the unlucky space in the Pomeroy (Fandango, Torero's, Twist, Ventana, and, most recently, Mestizo), christening it, this time around, The Grill from Ipanema.
Now, it appears the lease for the Buenos Aires Grill has run out, so Mr. Yoo is moving (it's said on the street) into a space a few blocks further north in Belltown, to 2nd and Battery.
Already three restaurants on that corner, and two of them aren't going anywhere: Shiro's (line out the door half an hour before they open) and Buckley's (thriving tavern). That leaves Marrakesch, a Moroccan belly-dancing joint that's been around for the past three years without making much of an impression. Wouldn't be surprising at all if Buenos Aires takes over this spot.
UPDATE: The word on the street was close, just off by one block. In fact, according to Cornichon's sources, the target location is Branzino, the classy Italian spot at the corner of 2nd and Wall Sts. We're waiting to hear from front man Peter Lamb how this came about, but the restaurant that hatched Top Chef contestant Ashley Merriman in 2008 now seems dunzo.
Pity. And now Belltown will have three Brazilian steak houses all in the same neighborhood, in a three block radius of each other.The fish? Too late, alas.
NEW UPDATE!: Yes, the Koreans have taken over Branzino, but no, they plan to keep it operating as an Italian spot. Plans to convert it into a steakhouse have been set aside.