Late-summer weekends are built for brunch, and Casco Antiguo on the Foss Waterway offers the perfect perch for soaking up the sun and boat watching.
The Seattle-based company opened the modern Mexican restaurant earlier this year at the base of The Henry, a retail-residential complex near the Museum of Glass.
That same view behind the museum is what diners see from the restaurant, which seats about 100 inside with additional seating on the patio.
It started serving brunch in late June. Here’s a first look at what diners can expect.
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Dining room: The Tacoma location feels like a sanitized version of the Seattle location in a Pioneer Square building with old and interesting bones, but every dining room seat in Tacoma yields sweeping views of the marina and all its yachts, plus views of the working waterfront.
The dining room is modern-industrial, with exposed duct work, concrete floors, light-wood tables and metal chairs. It offers seating for large or small groups. Big windows pull in plenty of natural light. More than half the water-facing portion of the building has retractable doors that have seemed perpetually flung open to the waterfront this summer.
Brunch menu: Look to the menu called “Platos de Desayuno” for breakfast items that include chilaquiles ($13), spicy fried chicken and churros ($15), a scrambled egg and chorizo bowl ($13) and gorditas rancheros ($14). Find breakfast tacos among a short list of the restaurant’s usual tacos ($8 to $9), plus breakfast sandwiches among lunch items. The spinach enchiladas with eggs looked interesting and also vegetarian friendly ($11).
Breakfast booze: A bloody Maria ($12), Michelada (it’s like a beer bloody Mary, $7), cava mimosa with a choice of orange or guava juice ($10), red wine sangria with tempranillo, brandy, orange liqueur, fresh juice ($8), pina verde, a sotol and pineapple-basil cocktail ($12).
Skip the booze: Cafe Umbria French Press ($2) and Manifesto cold-brew coffee ($4). Jarritos, orange juice, hibiscus water and more ($3 to $5).
Must eats: Breakfast tacos. Housemade chorizo sausage — made from Carlton Farms pork — and a sprinkle of queso fresco topped fluffy scrambled eggs on a duo of handmade corn tortillas ($8).
The restaurant’s take on steak-and-eggs came with New York steak rubbed with Spanish paprika, chile powder, cumin and coriander and grilled to your specification ($20). Thick, toothsome whole beans in a zippy sauce spilled into roasted potatoes with crispy edges. A sunnyside-up egg and corn tortillas finished the plate built for big eaters.
The restaurant’s take on eggs Benedict starts with a picadita base ($13). Similar to sopes, the picaditas came with cupped edges to hold in the yolky river that spilled from just-right poached eggs. The chewy corn discs also cradled a generous portion of the house-made chorizo. Chipotle hollandaise was bright and buttery, with a dash of spice from house-made chipotle adobo sauce. Roasted potatoes on the side.
Hot sauce: Three on the table. The light orange habenero packs painful heat. The green jalapeno-serano offered mild spice and tang. The third, a deep orange, was a Fresno chile hot sauce that was more sweet than it was spicy.
Executive Chef Jerry Lariz noted, “We also just added an extreme heat sauce to the line up.”
Three new sauces are The Carolina Reaper— also known as the hottest pepper in the world — followed by the Trinidad Scorpion pepper and, finally, the Yellow Scorpion. They have serious heat but great sweet flavors.
Take it home: “The three on the table go for $8 a bottle or three for $20, and the other three specialty ones are $14 a bottle,” Lariz said.
Must drink: Bloody Maria, a Mexican take on the brunch drink everybody loves. In lieu of vodka, the smoky tinge of the Peleton de la muerte mezcal beautifully accentuated the salty tang of the sangrita. Celery bitters and a chile-salt rim deepened those salty tones.
Order a side of yachts: If you’re lucky, as I was on a recent weekend morning, you’ll see one of the big ones exit its slip. Tip, you can walk along the esplanade to see those yachts up close.
Casco Antiguo Tacoma
Where: 1901 Dock St., Tacoma; 253-212-0665; cascoantiguorestaurants.com.
Hours: Brunch service Saturdays-Sundays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.