Our second anniversary was this past Tuesday, and it called for a special dinner out. We were originally thinking of heading to Seattle, but decided to stay in Tacoma since it was a work night. You don’t need to go to Seattle for great food, right?! Duh, that’s why you’re reading this right now!

We decided on Asado Cucina Argentina since we never end up making it there. Why? I’m not exactly sure. It’s a little pricey for an every day dinner, and for some reason I never think of it for a special occasion. I’m glad I remembered it this time because we had an excellent meal.

First off, Asado happens to have half off bottles of wine on Tuesdays. Score. Didn’t plan that, but it worked out nicely. You can try a bottle you might not normally order because of its price, or you can just get a killer deal. Either way it’s a win.

I like the look and feel of the restaurant. When you walk in, you can smell the mesquite wood they use in their grill. The whole front of the restaurant opens up garage door-style to an outdoor bar, and it’s an awesome place to sit on a sunny day. The only thing I don’t love about Asado is that it gets a little loud in there, so having a conversation can be tough. You end up yelling, so that’s not great.

Go to Asado for what they do best: their grilled seafood and meats. It’s unlike any other restaurant in Tacoma in its flavor profiles. Big, bold flavors of chimichurri, salsas, herbs and spices are integrated seamlessly into steak and seafood dishes that are cooked to perfection.

Their online menus are not super accurate as to the actual menus in the restaurant. They’re actually much more extensive, although still fairly straightforward. Check their Facebook for new fresh sheets with specials of the moment. I would normally take notes on prices and specific ingredients in dishes, but we were celebrating and my husband puts up with enough of my antics, so this is a more general description of what we had. Here’s a more complete version of their dinner menu I found online.

When we sat down, the service was a little slow to get started, but when we ordered our wine, the waiter was super helpful and attentive for the rest of the meal.

We started with salads. Casey had a quinoa salad, and I went with the wedge salad. Both were light and fresh, with unexpected flavors. The quinoa salad had black beans, candied apricots and peppers, with a walnut vinaigrette drizzled over the top. My wedge salad was lovely butter lettuce, with grapefruit, roasted corn and an avocado orange vinaigrette that woke up my tongue. It was topped with avocado and bacon, and every bit the kind of salad I love.

For our entrees, my husband ordered the grilled salmon that was the fish of the day. Most entrees have a choice of mashed purple potatoes, poblano polenta or stewed lentils. Casey went with the purple potatoes with his salmon, and enjoyed them. I ordered the parilla mixta, or mixed grill, with prawns, steak and chorizo over the polenta. Let me tell you — I’m still thinking about that polenta. It was rich and creamy, definitely loaded with cheese, but with a complex flavor. The steak and prawns were delicious, but I didn’t love the chorizo. For some reason, the flavor seemed more Indian than Argentinian to me, but what do I know.

The dessert menu came, and we were pretty full, but we went for it anyway. The creme brulee was traditional, with great vanilla flavor and a crisp crust, though I’d recommend sharing it because it was pretty deep. Casey ordered a fried banana dessert with ice cream that sounded really fantastic from the menu description, but ended up not being what we thought it was. It was more like a banana egg roll than a take on bananas foster that we were hoping. Big bonus: they have a selection of locally made Olympic Mountain ice creams that are outrageously good. I’m a big fan of all their ice creams, but they have some great ones: macadamia nut, pistachio and dulce de leche. Next time, just a scoop of these luxurious ice creams will do.

All in all, a lovely anniversary dinner with my sweetie.

If you’re planning on visiting Asado, I’d highly recommend getting a reservation in advance.

Asado Cucina Argentina | 2810 6th Avenue, Tacoma | 253-272-7770 | Mon-Thurs 11:30 a.m.-12 a.m., Fri 11:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m., Sat 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m., Sun 4:15 p.m.-12 a.m.

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