photo credit: Nate Watters

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Capitol Hill

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This steakhouse and brainchild of Renee Erickson (the chef/owner of The Walrus And The Carpenter, Westward, Deep Dive—you get the point) has been the Capitol Hill place to eat red meat since it opened in 2015. But the food here just isn’t what it used to be—in fact, Bateau is pretty unremarkable.

Bateau isn't a stuffy steakhouse where you’ll find stock brokers deciding the fate of our economy over a porterhouse. Instead, you’ll get the Seattle version, where Amazon employees have “can I pick your brain” dinners, and denizens of Magnolia venture out of their vortex for a casual weeknight jaunt. But that's where the novelty ends. The once-charming now-ubiquitous chalkboard menu is impractical—it's only charming if you're sitting on the south side of the restaurant and have 20/20 vision. And raw cow carcasses hanging on display as the restaurant's centerpiece just don't have the same sparkle when the meal is ultimately a letdown.

fries with a side of aioli

photo credit: Nate Watters

wall-size chalkboard menu at Bateau

photo credit: Nate Watters

a burger cut in half

photo credit: Nate Watters

"Bateau" window decal on outside of restaurant

photo credit: Nate Watters

Bateau image

photo credit: Nate Watters

fries with a side of aioli
wall-size chalkboard menu at Bateau
a burger cut in half
"Bateau" window decal on outside of restaurant
Bateau image

Even with the fancy cuts, meat marbling, 126-day dry-aging, and words like côte de boeuf being thrown around, the steak lacks sex appeal. There's none of the char, sizzle, and juiciness that makes a slab of beef exciting. It’s just mildly seared meat, on nice china, overshadowed by anchovy butter. Then there’s the burger. This viral off-menu item has a tasty onion jam and olive oil-forward aioli, but some bites of the coarsely ground patty can chew like a piece of Hubba Bubba. The small plates aren't pulling their weight, either. Right when the delicious french onion croquettes stuffed with molten gruyere reel us back in, the sweet and sticky beef riblets come out burnt. And the black lemon puree smeared on the chickpea pancake looks like tar and tastes like cleaning supplies. Seriously, the best thing here (by a landslide) is the frites marinated in beef tallow. 

You should be able to rely on a great steakhouse for almost anything—date night, impressing out-of-towners, promotions, and any special occasion outside of marrying a vegetarian. But at this point, it's hard to muster up a single use case for Bateau, other than to pocket a couple of complimentary mint chocolate meringues and enjoy a plate of their standout fries—which you’re better off doing next door at Boat Bar.

Food Rundown


The best way to go here is to forget the menu chalkboard and ask your server for a suggestion based on what type of beef experience you’d like. And there’s no denying that Bateau can deliver a perfect medium-rare. But without any crust or juice, you’ll just end up using floppy slices as vehicles to scoop up melted bone marrow butter.

photo credit: Nate Watters


You won’t find any mention of the burger on Bateau’s menu, chalkboard or otherwise—it’s a secret. And ironically, the seared crust we’ve been searching for in the steak is apparent on the outskirts of this hockey puck-sized beef patty. But once you get past that first glorious edge bite with globs of onion jam and olive oil aioli, the challah bun gets soggy fast, and the patty's middle is way too rare and chewy.

Chickpea Pancake

This fluffy chickpea pancake is topped with a lovely herb salad that we'd happily snack on all day. But if we could rewind time and stop ourselves from getting anywhere near the shockingly bitter black lemon sludge smeared in between, we would—even if the fate of the future world is at risk.

Frites And Aioli

Want to know what to order at Bateau, the beef shrine of Seattle? Fries.

Sweet And Sticky Ribs

These miniature ribs thoughtfully come with a set of fresh warm towelettes you can use to wipe the sticky sauce from your fingers, how nice. What’s not nice is that the tiny riblet pieces have barely any meat on them, and are covered in a burnt sauce.

French Onion Croquettes

Unlike the rest of the menu, the croquettes are consistently great. Crack open the melty gruyere-filled fried balls of barley and spoon the egg yolk and dijon dipping sauce over the whole thing for one of the best bites all night.

Creamed Nettles

Nettles cooked in heavy cream and topped with black nigella seeds are clearly trying to be a replacement for creamed spinach, and they're just fine.

Roasted Mushrooms

If you love mushrooms, go ahead and order this variety bowl of very expensive funghi with lots of garlic thrown into the mix. But make sure to break open the soft-cooked egg on top promptly, or else you’ll end up with crumbly hard egg pieces in the way of your mushroom fest.

Tallow Cake

This dry cake topped with chunky dollops of overwhipped beef fat buttercream is unfortunately burnt to a crisp on the bottom. Which is made worse by the off-putting elderflower and fleece flower topping that tastes like you went teeth first into an orange peel.

Plum Sorbet

Bateau’s plum sorbet underneath a fort of meringue is refreshing, and at its best when you get a little piece of everything in one bite—the chewy tapioca, frozen rose custard, and tart plums. But only order this if you like flower-flavored things.

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