Back to Guides

Super Best of Tacoma 2011 Readers' Pick Best Restaurant: Pacific Grill

Keeping it playful and fresh by offering seasonal menus

Pacific Grill / Illustration credit: Lance Kagey

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

For this food lover, delivering the news to the winner of Best Restaurant was akin to opening a sealed envelope and announcing an Oscar winner. "Pacific Grill was voted Best Restaurant in the Weekly Volcano's 2011 Best of Tacoma Readers' Poll!" I excitedly blurt out while chatting with Pacific Grill's owner, Chef Gordon Naccarato, "I couldn't be happier you won. Why do you think people picked Pacific Grill for Best Restaurant?"

Ever composed, Naccarato laughs a little, possibly at my enthusiasm, before responding, "I'd like to think it's about the food. Depending on who you ask, they say it's ambiance, service, pricing, all of it. I want people to come here and have that full experience.

"In this economy, you have to hit on all of those," Naccarato continues. "It's why we've done what we have."

Naccarato refers to designing dining options at Pacific Grill so that anyone can afford to visit. "We appeal to a very broad clientele - younger urban professionals, local politicos and foodies; not stuffy, boring and overdressed in a quiet library setting," he says. "Every night we open the door we are there to throw a fabulous party."

Naccarato keeps it playful and fresh by offering seasonal menus, a weekly fried chicken night and creative alternatives to the expected white tablecloth experience. The man who made the ballsy move of dropping out of law school in Los Angeles in the late ‘70s to follow his passion for food and cooking is still doing just that. An example can be found in Naccarato's desire for a ramen shop and an all-the-time happy hour restaurant, which he's translated into a "restaurant within a restaurant" at Pacific Grill. Pacific Grill's award-winning happy hour is hugely popular and offers guests 50 percent off five pages of specially selected dishes.

Each time I walk in the door, I am struck by how the interior both soothes and dazzles. Big windows, natural light and a high ceiling all contribute to an airy, unrushed feel. The walls are tastefully uncluttered with dynamic yet simple artistic focal points.

The cuisine at Pacific Grill can be enjoyed by anyone; refined palette not required. Basic pleasure foods are represented well, including mac and cheese, sweet potato fries, roasted game hen, Tater Tots, creamed corn and a cookie plate. These items may sound familiar, but at Pacific Grill preparation and fine ingredients launch them from basic to marvelous. From Maple Leaf Farms duck breast with cherry-apricot sauce to seared, sliced and fanned top sirloin with coffee and ancho spice rub or Berkshire heritage pork chop in peach-bourbon sauce, complex dishes with layers of flavor are served by a professional staff.

And that on-point service begins with training. Gathered inside on a very sunny afternoon in June, the front-of-house staff pays rapt attention as Chef de Cuisine Jessica Armstrong-Sewell parades dish after dish from the kitchen. She and Naccarato thoroughly explain composition and presentation. Naccarato gives suggestions of how to describe the dishes for guests and how to answer questions. Most importantly, Naccarato talks of  how to sincerely convey the restaurant's collective passion for the food and the experience.

"We want to share the romance of the meal, of the evening, with our guests," Naccarato says.

Of the Best of Tacoma 2011 Naccarato says, "Big, big thanks to my great staff, the many friends and family that support us - and thanks, Tacoma!"

[Pacific Grill, 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.3535]

Read next close


Warts and all

Comments for "Super Best of Tacoma 2011 Readers' Pick Best Restaurant: Pacific Grill" (3)

Weekly Volcano is not responsible for the content of these comments. Weekly Volcano reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

User Photo

Pegsterdtown said on Aug. 01, 2011 at 2:04pm

Was there EVER any doubt?

User Photo

Marguerite said on Aug. 01, 2011 at 11:00pm

Oh, PG. You are my kitchen away from kitchen. Thank you for your delicious and plentiful happy hour menu!

User Photo

mary{ marcus] morton said on Aug. 03, 2011 at 10:47pm

I live in Scottsdale now and miss my high school friend Gordon who always made his classmates and all feel so special.
Love those cheeseburger sliders and Gordon and his staff and decor!

Leave A Comment

(This will not be published)


Respond on Your Blog

If you have a Weekly Volcano Account you can not only post comments, but you can also respond to articles in your own Weekly Volcano Blog. It's just another way to make your voice heard.

Site Search