Dishin’: El Gaucho’s Steak, Bananas Foster, and…Corn?

For a first visit to El Gaucho, everything went pretty much as expected. We went right at the opening (note: during the 5 p.m.-6 p.m. “Power Hour,” food from the bar menu is half-price when you sit at the bar or in the piano lounge) and spent the first ten minutes adjusting our eyes to the darkness. You’ll want to use the flashlight they provide to read the menu.

El Gaucho is a perfect place for pyromaniacs. Cooper Mills, the tuxedoed general manager, started the show by bringing us a flaming sword: the brochette of tenderloin. Tender indeed. He’d end our evening with a fiery finish, serving us their trademark bananas Foster, prepared tableside.

In between, we enjoyed wicked shrimp (actually, we’d have liked them to have a little more fire of the spicy sort) and mac n’ Coastal cheddar cheese—the Coastal adding a compelling earthiness to the dish. But the highlight of the meal, much to our surprise, was the roasted sweet corn with chipotle honey butter. Really! Maybe the richness of the rest of the food made it special, but the corn was sweet and refreshing—a terrific taste of summer. Mills was pleased that we picked up on this, explaining that he’s hoping to offer more seasonal products from the local markets. To that, El Gaucho, we simply say “Bravo.”

Cross-posted on Seattlest, where “we” = me.

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El Gaucho Tacoma on Urbanspoon

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