The actual legend of El Dorado is many things: a man, a myth, a kingdom pursued by the Spanish Empire. It isn't something that easily translates into an hour-and-a-half dinner cabaret.
Thankfully, it turns out that Can Can's El Dorado is more concerned with booty shorts, high kicks, and stripteases than staying faithful to a narrative.
Can Can describes The Legend of El Dorado as a "badass women-on-the-run story" that's "all-new, all-original, all-fishnets." Set in a "cinematic desert-scape" where a "women-led gang is kicking ass and taking names," El Dorado lets its cast and crew do what Can Can does best: wine and dine you, put on a little razzle-dazzle, and get (mostly) naked. I love it every time I go.
When you enter the Pike Place Market–adjacent club, a host immediately whisks you down to their "absinthe and craft cocktail bar." This time, I was offered mezcal. I felt wooed. (Pro tip: Can Can's cocktail bar is open 5 p.m. to close Wednesday through Sunday, and there's no cover to drink there.)
Monica Seward is the venue's head chef, creating a menu that's fresh from the market. The full-course dinner menu has options like top sirloin, falafel, and seasonal market fish, but I went for the Can Can burger and added truffle fries.
El Dorado is hosted by Jonny Boy (Jonathan Betchtel), an energetic and gregarious performer with timing as quick as the show's costume changes. When he's not dancing, Jonny Boy says he's "at the gym or welding something," which sounds porny but makes sense when you see him. He's jacked.
In this show, Jonny Boy acts as one half of a sheriff duo, the other half played by Jordan Taylor. At one point, the two rock back and forth on a giant wooden pony. It's hot and stupid.
Most of the show focuses on Taylor, who is funny and has a great butt. (I'll say it again: They all have great butts.) Taylor spends the whole show falling irrationally in love with a leader in the aforementioned girl gang, played by Jasmine Jean-Sim. He's supposed to be arresting her, but he can't, because his love has arrested him. (Again, the show has nothing to do with the legend of El Dorado.)
As I ordered my second mezcal at intermission, I thought about how hard it is to get a good drink next to a nearly naked dancer. In strip clubs here, it's illegal to serve alcohol.
While the Can Can Culinary Cabaret is not a strip club—it's a cabaret!!!—I stand by Stranger writer Rich Smith's contention that Seattle's excellent cabaret and burlesque scenes have a lot to do with Washington State's ridiculously strict stripper laws. Without booze, our clubs feel serious and pious—like church with boobs.
Seattle may never get the strip clubs it deserves. But for now, we have the Can Can. And damn, they have a good burger.