As I had made my decision to spend my thanksgiving away from the family in Seattle, I ended up choosing Aqua by El Gaucho for my Thanksgiving dinner as I made reservations since it was one of the few restaurants open on that day along with it being packed on that day.
Located on the beautiful Seattle Waterfront on Alaskan Way next to the Port of Seattle, the restaurant was nested on an ideal location for the extremely wealthy to blow out chunks of cash for simple preparations of Seafood and Steak. Don't get be wrong: although I'm the type of a person that avoids a restaurant if their menu offerings are too safe, I can definitely appreciate and savor the bold flavors of a broiled lobster tail with only melted butter or a medium rare 35 day aged ribeye only seasoned with salt and pepper. But because I'm a person who generally is hesitant against restaurants with simple menu offerings mainly those serving Traditional American cuisine, the moment I walked in and gazed briefly at the clientele, I've immediately realized that these aren't the bunch that have discerning palates (by this point, either you're empathetic towards me or labeled me as a snob). If you log in on Instagram and look at all the pics tagged to the physical location of the restaurant, you'll see that the majority of pics are either selfies or just photos of people, not food.
With that aside, the interior looked very nice and the hostesses were extremely pleasant and polite while offering to take my coat immediately with warm smiles. Seated, I was immediately assisted by my friendly and attentive waiter. After ordering and tasting my first drink of a Knob Creek Manhattan, I've made the realization that this was the best simple preparation of the cocktail I've had as the bartender was extremely skilled. In addition, I've ordered the Barents Sea King Crab Leg. After the immediate bread service, the beautiful King Crab Legs arrived ten minutes in front of me with Lemon Butter and Black Truffle Aioli. In addition to mentioning that the hefty price ($89, freaking wow) included two legs, they came with their shells precut with sheers. After popping open the shell of the first leg, the crab of course was decadent in flavor. The Lemon Butter was too an amazing complement for the dish. However even though it was nice that it provided an acidic zing of a different flavor once after every few bites, the Black Truffle Aioli wasn't really necessary as I prefered the flavor of the rich and not too sour Lemon Butter much more. On the side as the waiter said that the restaurant can do half orders along with not seeing the Lobster Madhed Potatoes on there, I went for the Sweet Yellow Corn with Chipotle Lime Butter. As I've noticed that it was cooked with Bacon/Pancetta as it was really rich, it was a tad too salty albeit still delicious.
I do apologize for the low lighting as it was pretty dim and I didn't want to be so conspicuous when taking the pics with my phone.
The best simple, original preparation I've had
Waiter offered a half order. Although delicious as I could tell that it was flavored with Bacon/Pancetta, it was a tad too salty.
At the end, it put a dent in my wallet as I found out later that the El Gaucho restaurants had the moniker "El Gouge-o". Besides the $89 price for the Barents Sea King Crab Legs, what I felt was the real offender was that the restaurant charged me $20 for each Manhattan, and I had two of them! Although the restaurant was sitting on some prime real estate, I didn't feel that alone was worth justifying for the price. Be that as it may, it was certainly cheaper than the emotional cost of the agony dealing with drunk and obnoxious family members back home.
Was it delicious and satisfying? Yes. Would I come back? Only on rare occasions, especially if I were to go or also bring someone (mainly out of towners) who wanted simple, wholesome preparations of seafood on the beautiful Seattle Waterfront. This too is a safe place to take someone who isn't too adventurous in terms of trying different foods if money isn't a concern.