Bite of the Palouse: Nuevo Vallarta fails to impress, still solid spot

Worth one visit, but not a second



Not my favorite spot, but still a good option for those close

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

Coming into WSU as a freshman, I soon realized that the Palouse has a secret.

Its secret weapon? The sheer variety of Mexican food that is available! Whether a truck, restaurant or Tin Tans on Greek Row, you are able to fill that craving with some high-quality food at reasonable prices.

Due to this absolute wealth of locations, it was not really a surprise to me that I have not tried all the spots. As the school year comes to a conclusion I have made it my mission to try them all.

Next on the chopping block is Nuevo Vallarta.

Located at 1110 N Grand Ave in Pullman, you likely have passed the restaurant driving up Stadium Way or going downtown.

If you have the option, I would recommend coming up north on Grand as trying to turn into the parking lot can be a nightmare otherwise. The parking lot is not much better, unfortunately, lacking the space to really maneuver or accommodate a lot of cars.

The owners decided to take it easy on you and I with their hours. Nuevo Vallarta is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m seven days a week. If you can manage to find a spot, then you can snag lunch or dinner. If you want more information or want some info on delivery, go to their website.

Out of the entire experience, the atmosphere was the most memorable. Nuevo Vallarta is a charming restaurant that can and should hold a large crowd of people, filled with welcoming and warm decor. Though the restaurant was not busy when we went, the booth allowed us to see out into the entire restaurant while still having good privacy.

The menu is a solid offering with plenty of options for whatever you are feeling on that occasion. One of my favorite parts of the menu was how easy it was to customize your meal. With a snap, you could try a combination of things from the menu, and the combo meals had options that scaled from one to three items.

Perfect if you never can decide on what to get.

Service at Vallarta was another high point. The wait staff quickly sat us, had our drinks in, our questions answered and our food brought before we could even think about it. We were celebrating my roommate’s birthday, so we ordered drinks, entrees and got a special fried ice cream at the end.

We all got blended margaritas, and I gravitated to the melon flavor. They were somewhat disappointing though; the flavors were never actually blended, so I had big chunks of tequila and some melon syrup. For those who love the taste of tequila, these are for you, but they really did not scratch the margarita itch with how bitter they ended up being.

For my meal, I ordered the Carne Asada, which came with the usual fixings of rice and beans, alongside flour tortillas. Similar to the margs, the meal did not really impress, but it was still enjoyable. The steak was a little overcooked and dry but seasoned well enough to make up for it. I am not usually a refried beans guy but they were surprisingly the best part, perfectly seasoned and overcoming the usual texture-ick I have with them.

The flour tortillas were the bridge between the less-than-special steak and the rest of the meal.

Overall, the meal was good but not great; none of the flavors were bad, but they did not stand out. My roommate and my girlfriend gave the same report on their food: enjoyable but not memorable.

The fried ice cream we ordered for my roommate was a change of pace from the rest of the meal, though. With strawberry syrup and chunks of strawberry, this was an amazing way to end the meal. I never find myself ordering dessert but the taste of this made me want to.

Let’s talk about the good of Nuevo Vallarta: Atmosphere, Service and Serving size. When you go into the restaurant, you are sure to walk out feeling satisfied and with a good chunk of leftovers.

The bad, however, stops Nuevo Vallarta from scoring higher in the list of Mexican restaurants on the Palouse. The flavor of the food was good, but not great, and the price meant that it was not really a place where you could go casually. It is important to note that despite all of this, we still had a good time and liked the restaurant — just didn’t love it.

Nuevo Vallarta is worth the trip and try, but I am hesitant to give it a second try over other places.

If you know of some food spots that I have not tried yet that you are just dying to brag about to your friends, let me know by emailing [email protected].