While researching my occasional Taco Tuesday feature, I stumbled on a memorable taco menu at Top of Tacoma, the McKinley neighborhood bar that also has an outstanding sandwich menu. Seven taco combinations look more like something you’d find at Hilltop Kitchen than your standard low-brow bar tacos, not that there’s anything wrong with crunchy dollar tacos on Tuesdays ( I’m looking at you, Magoo’s).
Tacos are a daily fixture on the menu at the Top, but straying from the typical Taco Tuesday discounts around town (of which there are many), Top of Tacoma cuts its taco prices — $8 for two — in half on Thursdays. That also means the bar is hopping on Thursdays.
On a recent visit, we bit into tiger prawns with apple-cabbage slaw and crispy pork belly with a similar cherry slaw. Both were interesting in texture, but the snappy prawns and fatty-edged pork belly were lost under the weight of the fruit and cabbage.
My attention wandered to a crumbled vegan chipotle field roast taco that was heavily spiced to mimic chorizo. For you spice avoiders, the house-spiced crema tamed that delicious heat some (but would turn the dish vegetarian, not vegan). The marinated steak tacos carried a beefy flavor and punchy marinade, and were dressed as you’d expect for a bar-themed beef taco — with shredded iceberg and cheddar. The combination worked and those were tacos I’d go back for, discount or not.
Speaking of vegetarian food and great tacos, the newer veg-friendly cafe Happy Belly in downtown Tacoma has outstanding vegetarian tacos: pear, mushroom and black bean on white corn tortillas with a cilantro-garlic cream sauce. Find them for $9, but they’re discounted $1 on Tuesdays at the restaurant, 1122 Market St., Tacoma; 253-365-6706 or facebook.com/happybellytacoma.
More tacos in this Taco Tuesday series: