SEAReview

Updated December 15th, 2021

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, Boat Bar, and more famous Seattle restaurants) in a dark, windowless room with ornate chandeliers. She’s snacking on fresh oysters and sparkling rosé 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 that next big thing: Beef.

Bateau translates to “boat” in French, and we have no idea how that relates in any way to bovines—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 about 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 an afternoon garden party eating cucumber sandwiches—only it’s actually fun. And the cucumber sandwiches are just stacks of beef.

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The coolest part about Bateau is the drama of it all, starting with the chalkboard wall. Written on it, aside from a doodle of some cows, is an overwhelming list of all the available portions of meat, based on the limited amount that they butcher nightly. And sure, you could go with a filet mignon or top sirloin, but then you’d be missing out on the unique cuts that aren’t also found at your neighborhood Outback—like a tender chuck chain or perfectly-marbled skirt tournedo. After you make your choice—using the encyclopedic wisdom of your server/beef mentor—they whip out this giant staff with a stub of chalk on the end of it and cross out what you ordered on the board. It’s oddly exhilarating to permanently deny someone else the chance to eat that exact piece of meat.

It takes about 45 minutes for your steak to arrive, so if you’re on a date, prepare some conversation starters. But know that it’s worth the wait (and the potential awkward silences). The steaks are cooked simply enough that you can appreciate the exceptional quality of the beef, but you can also select a flavored butter melted on top, like bone marrow or anchovy. Then there’s the off-menu burger, which, all steaks aside, should be the true 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 better believe we’d be rewinding and replaying our first bite on loop. To top it all off, the fries are prepared in tallow, 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 lay down the don’ts: don’t come here on a time crunch, don’t watch a certain Netflix documentary beforehand, and whatever you do, don’t fill up on appetizers.

Food Rundown

Bateau Salad

If you’re in the market for something crunchy and cold before going to town on beef, we approve of this salad. It’s a mound of fresh and pickled vegetables, cubes of salami, some chickpeas, and a red wine and dijon vinaigrette.

Beef Jerky

These strips of dried beef are available by the ounce. They’re warm, chewy, intensely peppery, and act as a perfect precursor to more beef.

French Onion Croquettes

The only reason we’d ever dissuade you from ordering these tasty, oniony fried balls of comté-stuffed barley dunked in a mustardy egg yolk sauce is if eating tasty, oniony fried balls of comté-stuffed barley in a mustardy egg yolk sauce will interfere with your appetite. Approach wisely.

Frites With Aioli

At first, we thought it was the placebo effect of being in a room full of meat. But no, these potato miracles are actually marinated in beef tallow before a dip in the deep-fryer, and they’re tremendously delicious in a pre-1990-McDonalds kind of way. You might end up fighting over the last few swipes of aioli, but friendly competition builds character.

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Burger

This is the burger you’d ignore your significant other naked for. Only topped with caramelized onion jam and a schmear of olive oil-forward 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 thing. Even if you had your heart set on a steak, be sure to order a burger (or two) for the table.

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Steak

Through the guidance of your server, you’ll embark on a choose-your-own-adventure mission involving a unique cut of beef. All of Bateau’s steaks have a fantastic sear only made better with one of their finishing butters melted on top—choose from brown butter and preserved lemon to anchovy (our favorite is the bone marrow though). We highly recommend ordering your cut medium rare to make the most of the meat’s overall quality.

Kale Gratin

Kale, nutmeg, cream, and aged cheddar. This dish has this creamy casserole-like decadence in the middle, but crackly kale chips on top that add a great charred crunch. Don’t skip it as a side dish.

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