I have to confess a certain pre-disposition against this place, but I was wrong. I've eaten at East & West Proctor before, and on that one visit anyway, found the flavors to be a bit bland. I thought they were over-reaching a little bit with the breadth of their menu, which includes Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and Indian dishes. That visit was well over a year ago, so take that with a grain of salt.
Friday was my first visit to East & West Cafe on Tacoma Mall Blvd. Several people had told me it was a little more kid-friendly than East & West Proctor, (which isn't particularly unfriendly just a little crowded) so I thought I'd check it out with the youngest in tow.
Things weren't looking too promising at first. My daughter sat down with a thump and immediately complained that there were no coloring pages. This triggered my "why am I not the kind of mom who thinks to bring crayons and coloring pages with me?" guilt reflex, which made me cranky. She kept playing with the sugar packets in defiance of the edicts of mom, which made me more cranky. Looking around the room, the clientèle was, well, homogeneous, again with the cranky. Then there was the fairly expensive lunch menu and no kid options, and no way to order something spicy for me and something bland for the kid without ordering too full-price entrees.
BUT then the food came. There was no more cranky. My "basil delight" was actually pretty delightful. It looked like the sort of thing that might be too sweet, but it had just the right amount of flavor and plenty of wonderful fresh veggies.
For the little one, a platter of Pad Thai bigger than her head, and torso. It came somewhat de-constructed, which meant she'd actually eat it so that was cool. She worked on the little pile of chicken while my basil delight disappeared, and I got to take home the rest of the Pad Thai for dinner for me on Friday, and lunch for my husband on Saturday. At 2 stars, it was mild enough for her to eat, but flavorful enough for us when we added the tasty peanut curry sauce that came with it.
East & West Cafe has a nice interior, it would make a good date spot although I found it to be a bit more hushed than I generally like when I'm out with the kids. Prices are definitely a bit higher than most Asian restaurants in the area, but the Thai food at least does not disappoint. The service was a little slow-paced for kids, there was too much time between the end of the meal and the check. Parking is in the back, behind a huge rock fountain.
East & West Cafe
5319 Tacoma Mall Blvd