When we think about how Bateau came to be, we imagine the person responsible (Renee Erickson, the chef/owner of this place, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Bar Melusine, and more famous Seattle restaurants) in a dark, windowless room with ornate chandeliers. She’s snacking on fresh oysters and sparkling rose while plotting her eventual takeover of the food world on a corkboard. We also imagine her diabolically laughing. The Northwest seafood scene has already been played like a game of Monopoly (only without any profanity or violent table-flipping), and we can almost see her pushpins and yarn leading to the next big thing: Beef.
Bateau translates to “boat” in French, and we have no idea how that relates in any way to a cow - and maybe that’s the point. Bateau is not the steakhouse where you’ll find loud three-piece-suit people creeping in the darkness talking stocks and bonds and spilling bourbon all over themselves and their potatoes dauphinoise. It is the steakhouse where you’ll find a glass display of raw cow torsos showcasing what’s about to be butchered for your dinner, a burger that deserves a slow-clap and a standing ovation, and an aesthetic that looks like you could be at a debutante garden party eating cucumber sandwiches, only actually fun.
The coolest part of Bateau is the theatrics of it all, starting with the chalkboard wall. Written on it, aside from a doodle of some cows (aww, so adorable - wait) is an overwhelming list of all the available cuts and sizes of meat, based on the limited number of cows they butcher nightly. When you make your choice using the wisdom of the server/beef guru, they whip out this giant staff with a stub of chalk on the end of it and cross out what you just ordered on the board. It’s very dramatic and oddly satisfying to permanently deny someone else the chance to eat that exact piece of meat.
You’ll have to wait about 40 minutes for your steak to arrive (if you’re on a date, prepare some conversation starters), but it’s worth it. The steaks are cooked simply enough that you can appreciate the quality of the beef, but you can also choose a flavored butter melted on top like bone marrow or nori. Then there’s the burger, which, all steaks aside, is the reason you’re coming here. This is the burger that makes us wish the movie Click was real. What a terrible film, but if we had that remote, you bet we’d be rewinding and replaying our first bite on loop. It might be the absolute best burger in Seattle. To top it all off, the fries are cooked in beef fat, just in case you weren’t quite sure what this restaurant is all about.
There are so many do’s when it comes to Bateau, but we’re going to go ahead and lay down the don’ts: don’t come here on a budget, don’t bring a vegetarian, don’t order white wine, and for god’s sake, don’t tell your doctor.
A mound of fresh and pickled vegetables, cubes of salami, some chickpeas, and a red wine/dijon vinaigrette. Even though it’s full of nitrates and fat, it’s called a salad, so it counts as being healthy.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get these as an amuse bouche with a side of creme fraiche for dipping: braised beef inside of potato inside of a crispy breading--they’re like russian nesting dolls of joy.
At first we thought it was the placebo effect of being in a room full of meat. But no, these addicting potato miracles are actually fried in beef tallow, and they’re insanely good (sorry, vegetarians, but then again, what are you doing here?). We dare you not to lick the little bowl of aioli clean.
This is the burger you’d ignore your significant other naked for. It’s f*cking delicious. Only topped with caramelized onion jam and a schmear of aioli on a bun that’s equal parts squishy and toasty, it’s all we want. We don’t even want cheese or hydroponic baby arugula or human companionship when we have this. Every Sam Smith ballad ever written is about this burger. Unless you had your heart set on a steak (and even if you did), order this immediately. We suggest at least one for the table.
A super tender steak that achieves medium rare without leaving a murder scene on your plate, with melty bone marrow butter and a sprinkling of flaky salt.
Kale, nutmeg, cream, and aged cheddar. Like a mom casserole, but fancy. Don’t skip it as a side dish.