Cinco de Mayo at Tapatio Mexican Grill (Bellevue, WA)

After a throat-parching, warm day of hiking in the Cougar Mountain Regional Park, we headed straight to a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch. There were no Cinco de Mayo specials, except for a few drinks and snacks for happy hour, somewhat of a disappointment since many area Mexican restaurants were offering specials (off-menu) just for the celebration. There were certainly a lot of customers today. Whether typical for a Sunday or because it was May 5, I have no idea.

Our first order of business was margaritas. The house margarita (☆☆), likely made with a pre-mix, was $4 for happy hour, but the Cadillac version (☆☆½) was prepared from scratch with a premium tequila. Aside from being too sweet, the Cadillac was very nice and potent, served on the rocks, while the house was just sweet enough but watered down.

House and premium margaritas
House and Cadillac margaritas

The chips were crispy. The salsa, made from canned tomatoes, was spicy, tart and not too bad.

Chips and salsa
Chips and salsa

Sunday’s special was carne asada (☆☆½). The beef was thin, nicely grilled, tasty, chewy. On the side came pico de gallo, well made Mexican rice and refried beans cooked with vegetable oil rather than lard. A tasty scoop of guacamole was also included.

Carne asada plate
Carne asada plate

I requested jalapeños—by which I meant the pickled kind—but I got these instead, beautifully grilled and delicious (☆☆☆). An open flame must tame the chile’s heat. Even my wife, whose stomach can’t tolerate spicy foods, ate one and loved it.

Grilled jalapeños
Grilled jalapeños

Chile verde (☆☆½) was cooked in tomatillo sauce, with a consistency and creaminess very much like suiza, with spinach, a uniquely prepared sauce that was quite flavorful. The dish was marred by pork pieces that were not very tender.

Childe verde plate
Childe verde plate

Besides being much too noisy, a complaint that I have with many restaurants, Tapatio prices are high. The entrées were $14.50 and $16.99. The portions were huge though, so we had to take almost half home.

Tapatio Mexican Grill
Loehmann’s Plaza
13720-C Factoria Blvd. SE
Bellevue, WA

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