November 26, 2008

El Gaucho Brings Power Lunch to Bellevue

EGB%20w%20bar.JPG Chad%20and%20Paul%20Mackay.JPG
The bar at El Gaucho Bellevue; ceo Chad Mackay with dad (and chairman) Paul.

In terms of opening a new luxury restaurant, it may not be the best of times, but it's probably not the worst of times, either. And if anyone's going to straddle this tale of two cities, be they London and Paris or Seattle and Bellevue, let it be El Gaucho.

Long has it been said that there's no "there" there, but now there is: City Center Plaza, a vast open space in the heart of Bellevue's commercial center surrounded by 150 stories of high rise offices and condos, with more abuilding. Enter the revived power lunch, and enter El Gaucho's new Eastside showcase: a multi-level, 200-seat eating emporium that's designed to be "swanky, spirited and nostalgic."

For the first time since Paul Mackay brought back the legendary El Gaucho name 12 years ago, there's daylight at an El Gaucho, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the plaza. And a built-in clientele: in addition to the fat and fatter cats (who watch the mice who toil in all those cubicles, who show who's boss by where they eat), there's the Ladies Who Shop and the Ladies Who Lunch. (No office buildings or LWS/LWLs in Belltown, obviously.)

Granted, all this was penciled out in the Age of Optimism (the press release went out well over a year ago): 12,000 square feet under a 26-foot ceiling, for a cool $4 million build-out. Come the grand opening, the google map still shows a parking lot and everybody's wondering when, if ever, Microsoft plans to move in upstairs. But "the Gauch" has a loyal following. Those Wicked Shrimp, those crab cakes, those steaks, those tableside flames, they help nervous prom kids celebrate and help strutting celebrities spread the wealth.

Sure, you can drop a bundle, but lunch prices are reasonable. Service begins December 2nd.

El Gaucho Bellevue, City Center Plaza, 10903 NE 6th, Bellevue, 425-455-2742 El Gaucho Bellevue on Urbanspoon
(There's a driveway off 108th NE, just north of the Transit Center; better yet, read the directions on the website.)

Posted by Ronald Holden at November 26, 2008 9:15 AM | TrackBack

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