by Danielle Leahy photos by Jacque Manaugh
Look at these pictures. Just look at them. They say a picture is worth a thousands words but in the case of Velvet Taco only 6 are needed: Best.Gourmet.Tacos.In.Dallas.Period.
Velvet Taco has only been open a few short weeks in Dallas, located in the old Church’s Chicken on Henderson and 75 but is already making major waves in Dallas’ emerging Gourmet Taco scene. With over 20 different tacos on the menu broken down in to 6 categories (chicken, veggie, pork, beef, fish, and egg) and an emphasis on fresh, local produce these tacos are have been hand crafted from the tortilla up. In fact, all of the tortillas at Velvet Taco are hand made in house.
It’s this kind of attention to detail that makes Velvet Taco’s recipes such a force to be reckoned with. Ingredients like Thai basil, cornmeal fried oysters, sunflower sprouts, and raw tuna don’t just end up on a taco menu. They are brought there. For a purpose. And the purpose of Velvet Taco seems to be making unique, exotic, and amazingly cohesive tacos.
Many a Bot has been burned by the promise of a gourmet taco experience only to find that all they are really dealing with is an average or sub-average taco that contains a single unusual ingredient (quite heavy handedly on average) or a unique salsa smothering the flavor of all else. Only adding Honey-Chipotle does not make your normal taco special. This is not the case with Velvet Taco.
The flank steak/egg #20, rotisserie chicken #2, and roast pulled pork #8 were the top three choices of the night with the Texas burger #10 (surprisingly) being a close 4th. All of the tacos we tried were moist, flavorful, and correctly proportioned. The Flank Steak/Egg came in a flour tortilla with herbed goat cheese, purple potato chips, arugula, and pico. The meat still contained a warm pink center and arugula added the necessary bite to keep the egg from turning it into a breakfast taco.
The rotisserie chicken was moist, well seasoned, and was topped with roasted corn pico, white queso, and roasted poblano salsa. The roast pulled pork was one of the best pork tacos I have tried, juicy and covered in thai basil, grilled pineapple-habanero, and spiked BBQ sauce on a corn tortilla.
Velvet Taco also offers a great selection of drinks. Import and Specialty beers line the bottom of the grab and go cooler along with an even larger choice of boutique sodas, teas, and juices. The house Sangria and Margarita were a crowd favorite. Actually, the Margaritas should come with a warning. I had two and had to go home. Perfectly blended, with a delicious rim of cayenne salt on the edge their taste was so light, refreshing, and smooth we didn’t notice how much punch they were packing until the point of no return. Or as we like to call it: drunksauce!
The Sangria came in two flavors red and white and were packed with fresh fruit taste. The White Sangria I had tasted of mango and pineapple with out any of the canned syrup flavor so many Sangria’s carry.
In fact, the only drawback we could find might be the size of the location. It’s small. Maybe only space for 20 or so people in the high lunch counter style tables they have in rows across the dining area inside. However the service was quick so while seating might be an issue at least you don’t have to stand around forever if you are taking you option to go or outside. Many more tables were offered outside and the building provided shade over the side seating area for the entire time we were there. A recent swing by on Saturday around 1pm found the line sneaking out the door and the inside packed to standing room only. But with many, if not most, of the orders to-go it clears out quite quickly even at the busiest times of the day.
So if you’ve been driving by Velvet Taco on your way home from work, wondering what all was going on in that little shack on the corner of 75, do yourself a favor. Pull in, order a #20 and a Margarita and sit back and enjoy what might be one of the best tacos in Dallas.
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