I was excited to see we received an e-mail inviting us to a pre-opening of the new Sir Veza’s Taco Garage at Tucson Mall. It’s the second location for Sir Veza’s, and comes from the same company that owns and manages El Charro Cafe, a Tucson staple. I took my roommates Scout and Kristina (also my sister) along with me for dinner, and we feasted. Because of the soft opening, the entire menu was half-off for all guests that weekend (drinks were full price) so we went all out with appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Sir Veza’s is a cars and hot rods themed bar and restaurant. They use rags in place of napkins, plenty of auto-themed décor, and strategically placed televisions. The food is Mexican-inspired, but it’s a very loose and modern take on Mexican food. We started our meal with chicken taquitos, and our server brought us chips and salsa. The salsa was kind of meh for me, but Scout and Kristina liked it. I prefer my salsa a little chunkier and a little less smoky. There’s nothing wrong with the salsa–it just wasn’t for me. The taquitos were crisp and drizzled with an avocado crema, and served with a scoop of pico de gallo and a scoop of sour cream on the side. The pico de gallo was delicious, thanks to the happy addition of green chiles. (Note: Adding green chiles makes most things taste better.)
I also decided to go for a beer, mostly because I was swooning over Sir Veza’s (ahem) cerveza list. I’m not a big beer drinker, but I’ve managed to acquire a few favorites. I washed down the taquitos with a Lost Coast Great White (my favorite beer), and then later I had Nimbus’ Dirty Guera (another favorite).
For our entrees, my sister chose the Sonoran-style hot dog with sweet potato fries, Scout opted for The Old West burger with sweet potato fries, and I decided to do the build your own taco tour. The taco tour includes your choice of three tacos with rice and beans. I chose the vegan taco (Sir Veza’s offers two taco options for non-meat eaters), the pork adovado, and the grilled fish taco. I should note here that my roommate appreciated the variety in the menu since she’s not a big fan of Mexican food (blasphemy, I know).
And, I should also mention that we had some serious food envy moments when we spotted the salads that the table behind us received. The portion size was enormous (as was most everything else, we would soon learn), and the salad was gorgeously arranged on the plate. I think you have to commend a restaurant that can make you wish you ordered a salad for dinner.
Despite a bit of a wait on our food (to be expected during a pre-opening weekend), the dishes arrived hot and fresh. My sister’s Sonoran hot dog was actually two dogs in one big bun and Scout’s burger arrived medium, as requested. Their sweet potato fries were fresh cut and lightly battered and fried. All three of us, being enormous sweet potato fry fans, were pleasantly surprised by the freshness of the sweet potato fries. It was a legitimate sweet potato that someone just cut, not the frozen kind you got from a bag and dumped into a fryer. My taco tour was overwhelmingly generous, with two flour tortillas to hold the filling, and it was still overflowing.
I was, again, happily surprised by the addition of green beans and broccoli to my vegan taco, the fish taco tasted pretty standard to me, and the pork taco was a delight. The pork had been well-marinated and was tender and juicy. While I made a valiant attempt at eating all three of my tacos, by the time I hit the pork taco, I only took a bite with the tortillas before I gave up and just ate the filling. And, I have to admit, I was so stuffed by the tacos that I didn’t even touch the side of black beans and barely ate the side of rice.
If our appetizer and entrees wasn’t enough, my sister and Scout made sure to save room for desserts. Scout chose the apple pie chimichanga and my sister had the fried ice cream. The chimichanga was enormous, definitely a dessert made for sharing. The crispness of the cinnamon-dusted tortilla was a nice contrast against the sweet apple pie filling. My sister’s fried ice cream arrived in an enormous ball of ice cream coated in chewy corn flakes. It’s also a dessert that’s best for sharing.
Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Sir Veza’s. The prices are reasonable, even when you’re not eating for half-off, and the food is pretty good. And, I’m most excited by the addition of a locally owned restaurant to an area that’s overflowing with chain restaurants.