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Mexican or Pub food in Tacoma?

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PhDelicious Jul 22, 2012 11:00 AM

My step-father is turning 70, and has asked the family to join him for an outing to the new car museum in Tacoma, plus dinner afterward, next Sunday. We are all from Seattle and none of us know Tacoma or its restaurants well, so I'm turning to you Hounds for help! He is partial to Mexican food or pub grub, and loves a good IPA. There will be 8 of us going for dinner, so a place that we can make reservations at or that can quickly accommodate large groups of walk-ins is important. I've done some research and come up with a few options:

Asado (I am aware that this is Argentian, not Mexican, but I think my step-dad would enjoy it)

Vuelve a la Vida

The Swiss Pub

Engine House No. 9

Does anyone have feedback on whether any of these spots would make a good choice, or ideas on another place I've missed? Thanks in advance for your help!

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    PhDelicious Jul 25, 2012 08:04 PM

    Update: we have decided on Asado. We're going to hit Masa first for happy hour if we're done at the museum early--thanks for the tip on that, libstewart. I'll be sure to post a report afterward to let you all know how it was!

    1 Reply
    1. re: PhDelicious
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      PhDelicious Jul 29, 2012 09:23 PM

      Just wanted to post an update to let everyone know how our meal went. We did go to Masa for happy hour at about 4:30. My mom and step-dad both got pints of Engine House 9 brews and enjoyed those, and we got a great seat in the sun on the top deck. My margarita was nothing special. We then ate at Asado for dinner. We all really enjoyed the meal. I was especially happy with the lentil dish that came with my Lomo Parilla platter. The steak itself was good and very tender. We had some banana doughnuts for dessert that everyone really enjoyed. My only (minor) complaint is that our server was not much help with questions about the menu--she wasn't able to give us much guidance on selecting from among the numerous Malbecs on the wine list, and didn't have much to say when she was asked to give more detail on the Parilla options. But that is a minor quibble for an overall very good meal.

      All in all, we were happy with our choice of Asado for the birthday dinner! Thanks to everyone who replied for your help!

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      libstewart Jul 23, 2012 11:58 AM

      Asado is good but is not open until 5:00PM on Sunday for dinner service. The Lounge there opens at 4:00PM. Masa is Mexican and also good - just across the street from Asado and is open in the afternoon. Just thinking - if my family were taking in the museum we might want a late afternoon venue rather than waiting for dinner service.

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        Leper Jul 22, 2012 03:15 PM

        PhDelicious, You have done your homework well. Personally, I would recommend Vuelva a la Vida because of the authenticity of their food. (Hard to find in Seattle.) Asado is certainly more upscale and is very, very good. I would not put Engine House No. 9 on your list as a Chowhound destination. For fun pub grub, you might also consider The Spar in Old town.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Leper
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          PhDelicious Jul 23, 2012 06:17 AM

          Thanks, Leper! E9 is off the list. I think we're now leaning toward Asado, since this is a special occasion and a bit more upscale of a meal seems appropriate. The Spar also looks good, and I think my step-dad would enjoy the historic building. But Mr. Delicious and I have just put Vuelve at the top of our list for another meal very soon!

          1. re: Leper
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            GreenYoshi Jul 23, 2012 08:49 AM

            Leper, are you dinging Engine House 9 based on it's food offerings, because it wouldn't be the right place for a 70 year old or something else?

            I've never eaten there and I'd agree on that it might be a little too "young crowd", but I'd note they often have interesting, well-crafted beers.

            1. re: GreenYoshi
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              Leper Jul 23, 2012 06:11 PM

              GY, The beers are good as is the service, but I wouldn't select Engine House No. 9 as a Chowhound destination. Asada and Mesa are both worthy of a visit as is the new restaurant "Marrow." Vuelve a la Vida is only for serious Chowhounds whose focus on food can overcome the strip-mall atmosphere and the feeling you should have personally torched an Olive Garden while cooking smores in the flames with cheering friends. (Sans bread sticks.) Vuelva a la Vida does not offer chips and salsa for fear the image of the Virgin Mary may appear on one of the chips.

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