by Steven Doyle
Originally opened as Campo in Oak Cliff, VH Casual Dining is now enjoying its fourth year in business serving amazing brunches, lunch and dinner in the Oak Cliff area. Owned by Victor Hugo, the restaurateur not the noted French poet, you are able to spot him running some aspect of his restaurant daily with his telltale beard and gregarious smile with a penchant for amazing service.
Hugo was born in Guadalajara, but spent much of his youth in Europe playing soccer before making his way to the United States. His foray in the restaurant industry may have been the Cheesecake Factory, but soon he made his way to Dallas where he managed Al Biernat’s steakhouse and Bistro 31 before opening his own restaurant designed and previously owned by the gents at Coveal Studios.
The restaurant design has not changed much, if at all, from its previous incarnation, in fact the patina may have actually improved the look from when Matt McCallister opened Campo those many years ago prior to FT33. The food is equally as interesting and always on point.
Perhaps famous for brunch in a very brunchy neighborhood, you will find some interesting dishes such as their Carnitas Hash or Beef and Egg Quesadillas, a good portion of their business comes from brunch seekers, but the magic is in the evening where a small yet very much on point menu takes reign.
Begin service with a few requisite appetizers such as their Duck and Goat Cheese Taquitos which are light and crisp adorned with drizzles of avocado crema and served with a cascabel salsa. Or their signature Calamari Fries which are served exactly as calamari should, from the hearty steak which gives and amazing bite, one which you might have never known calamari to be capable of. The sriracha romesco sauce gives the calamari steaks an amazing flavor. This dish is definitely addictive.
The entree offerings are few but on point. The house-made Tagliatelle served with Akaushi beef tenderloin tips is definitely our favorite, loaded with cremini mushrooms, English peas and a creamy whiskey sauce. A glorious dish.
We tasted the grilled tenderloin which was also a beautiful plate served with a red potato mash and broccolini, our friend who offered was polite enough to offer samples for the table but quick to devour leaving no second bites for her friends.
Look for a vegan friendly tofu ratatouille, seared scallops and a marvelous fish – a Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi that made other table mates coo upon delivery.
The evening ended with another signature dish, the Horchata cake topped with a generous handful of crushed Cinnamon Toast Crush bits. Think Tres Leches on steroids, light, airy and a perfect bite. You will challenge your friends for the last bite.
Cocktails, beer and wine abound and all curated perfectly, you will enjoy your evening with Victor Hugo which at special moments did remind us of a special poet, if that poet delivered sonnets of great service and amazing food and drink.