The Pink Door

1919 Post Alley. Seattle, WA 98101(206)

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Located in a pseudo alley and marked with very little signage, save the actual color of the door (which is obviously pink), the place makes you feel like you are entering a sex dungeon. Especially as you head down the stairs into an intimately lit, high-ceiling dining space adorned with various types of trapeze equipment hanging above the tables. Apparently there is a correlation between colored doors and hedonistic things lying behind them. The Green Door, for those old enough to remember, had porn behind it and The Pink Door has, well… burlesque trapeze (pictured). Which is naturally the first thing you think of when you think Italian cuisine. The Italians being well known for their burlesque- oh, wait… Sorry, that’s the French. But trapeze- okay, also French. So I’m not exactly sure why the European mash-up, but I have to say I dug the vibe.

I also dug the fact that as a walk-in, they didn’t screw me with a table by the wait station. Quite the contrary, they gave me the best table in the restaurant, outside on the patio, in a corner, offset from everyone else, with an amazing view of the water and Mt. Rainier.

Another pleasant surprise was the 2013 Va Piano Sauvignon Blanc by the glass from Wala Wala, Washington. Not only was it one of the best Sauvignon Blancs I’ve ever had, it was one of the best whites I’ve ever had offered by the glass. And let’s be honest, there’s a third plus as well… it’s just fun to say Wala Wala, Washington.

Unfortunately, the food didn’t hold up to the preamble. The asparagus, while decent, gained nothing from the crispy prosciutto and hard boiled egg crumble, because both are served in such minimal proportion that I didn’t even get the point.

They made up for it though, with a salmon special that was very good. Served over a cauliflower and fennel puree, with broccolini, morels and roasted grape tomatoes. Not very Italian, but I think that ship kinda sailed. And at least it was healthy, clean cookin.’

But easy come easy go, because after making it up to me on the entrée, they royally shat the bed on dessert. The oatmeal crisp was so atrocious there was nothing crisp about it, soggy like a bowl of cereal sitting in milk for over an hour. Quite possibly the worst I’ve ever had.

And while I would love to stay mad at The Pink Door for wasting my money on that dessert, I have to give it up to them for the free dinner theater, bizarre as it might be. Starting with an Elvira-looking vamp, decked out in black chiffon, traipsing through the restaurant like she was Lady Godiva or something. Then, right their in the middle of the restaurant, she climbs aboard one of the trapeze swings hanging from the ceiling and proceeds to writhe on this thing like Josephine Baker while people attempt to still eat their meals beneath her. Not since Señor Tango in Buenos Aires have I ever had a dining experience like this. And for that, I have to commend The Pink Door. Thank you for making me feel like I was on another planet. A distinction not many restaurants can achieve. Which is probably a good thing.

3 teeth

Señor Tango

Vieytes 1655 , Barracas, Buenos Aires 1275 , AR • (54-11) 4303-0231 •

While this place is the living definition of a tourist trap, I can’t help but recommend it, solely on the basis that it will likely be one of the most surreal dining experiences of your life.

As you enter, you can’t help but be taken back by the airplane hanger-sized dining room. But what’s more impressive than that is that these walls that stretch to infinity are all coated in framed photographs of Señor Tango himself (yup, he’s a real person) posing with just about every celebrity imaginable. You name ‘em, they’re on there. Stallone, Goldie Hawn, Pacino, President Obama, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan… I could go on and on, just like the wall, but I’ll spare you, because there’s so much more to tell.

So, after your 10-minute walk back to your table, you will find yourself overlooking a rather substantial stage for a restaurant. But, this is more than just a restaurant. This is dinner theater at its finest, and by finest I mean cheesiest.

Now, as I start the four paragraph of this review without so much as a single word about food, I feel compelled to say that it’s just eh. But that’s not why you MUST still go here. That reason is coming in paragraph five.

Some three bites into my Argentine steak a man on a horse comes rushing past me, leaping up onto the stage. In a restaurant! That apparently has no health codes. And not just one horse, but two!!! And that’s not even the weirdest part! On one horse there’s a pilgrim and on the other an American Indian. There is a tense standoff for a minute or two, and then suddenly they break into what can only be described as a “horse tango?”

The Horse Tango is then followed up by an on-foot tango, as dozens of pilgrims and Indians join their respective sides of the scrimmage.

After that, a Gangster Tango wages between a pinstriped Mafioso, complete with Tommy gun and a roaring Twenties flapper.

And then came the piece de resistance, Señor Tango himself and some blond bombshell in a performance that quite literally took the art of tango to new heights. Yes, the stage had one last trick up its sleeve, a cylindrical platform that lifted the two of them high into the air, as they tangoed precariously on the narrow tip of this 15-foot tower.

Following his assertion of tango dominance, Señor Tango doesn’t stop there either. Oh no. He is a man of many talents and he is fully prepared to share ALL of those talents with you. So for his next act, vocals. Yes, Mister Tango will turn to you, the audience, and ask where you are from. Regardless of your answer, he will immediately break into the corresponding tune of that locale, swooning the likes of “New York, New York,” “Chicago,” “I left my heart in San Francisco,” “The last time I saw Paris” and “Back in the USSR”… It doesn’t matter. And you won’t be the only one. This goes on for at least half a dozen people. Fully distracting you from the meal and service, of which I only marginally recall.

I mean this guy is playing chess while you’re busy eating checkers. But please don’t let this discourage you from going, because once you appreciate him for who he really is, the Madonna of restaurateurs, then, and only then, have you TRULY been to Buenos Aires.