Monday, March 25, 2013

El Gaucho

319 SW Broadway
Happy Hour: 5 - 7 & 10 - close, Monday through Friday; 10 - close, Saturday;
All Night Happy Hour: 5 - close, Sunday

El Gaucho is where I will now forever go when I want to pretend that I have money. It is exactly what you would expect for a place that offers a fourteen dollar hamburger. The lighting is dim. The decor offers more than fresh flowers. And the servers are dressed UP.

As a vegetarian, I ended up ordering sides off of the regular menu. My husband, however, loved every bite of the over-priced burger. Since I do most of the cooking--and I don't cook meat--he tends to appreciate the meaty offerings when we are out for happy hour.

The hamburger was topped with bacon, crisp lettuce, tomato, and aioli spread heavily over the toasted bun. It was wrapped in checkered paper and towered over the teeny tiny gherkins that garnished the plate. It was impressive watching him take the first bite. I would have made a complete mess, but he managed to keep the burger together as he enjoyed bite after bite.

And I loved every bite of my plate of macaroni and cheese. It was made with the gemilli pasta I love so much. Each little twist did such an excellent job of holding onto the cheesy sauce. It meant that every bite was as delicious as the first. The sauce itself had a little texture to it. It wasn't as creamy as some, but was obvious that it was made with high quality cheese.

To share, we ordered a plate of broccoli. They offer many shareable sides on the regular dinner menu. I had a hard time deciding between the broccoli and asparagus as the both top my favorites and were both topped with the same lemon sauce. I was a little hesitant to order steamed broccoli as it so often is just past perfect, but this still had the crunch I love so much.

As we both ordered a glass of the house red--a Merlot from Walla Walla, it was brought to the table in a small carafe. The server was good about filling our glasses throughout the meal, making it seem as though each glass was more like a glass-and-a-half.

El Gaucho is not somewhere I plan to return to regularly. It will be perfect for special occasions, but adds up a little too fast for a regular outing. I will remember it when making recommendations, though. Especially when celebrations are in order.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Does Not Meet (a must for special occasions)


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