Tacos are such a mainstay of Texas culture that you can get them everywhere from the nearest taco truck at 2 a.m. or a five-star rated restaurant accompanied by a glass of champagne.
Well known for their bold fusion combinations, Velvet Taco happens to be in the middle of those two extremes. The upscale taco joint barged into the Texas food scene in the mid-2000s and hasn’t stopped since.
Walking into Velvet Taco, you’ll be greeted by loud music, colorful artwork and yes, the aroma of meat sizzling on the grill. The menu is a multicultural map, with everything from tikka chicken to Cuban pig and raw ahi poke. The traditionalists out there need not worry: grilled flank steak tacos are on the menu as well.
One might argue that breakfast tacos are what make the taco world go round, but Velvet Taco has upped the ante on those as well with their all-day brunch menu. Have a hankering for chicken and waffles? Why not try the Chicken and Waffle Taco (pictured above), made up of chicken tenders, bacon and maple syrup wrapped up in a sweet waffle “tortilla.” Or, how about the Bacon and Eggs, also part of the brunch menu? They add crisp tots, chile butter, smoked Cheddar, charred tomato poblano salsa, micro greens and a corn tortilla to transform a breakfast staple into a Velvet Taco experience.
“The most popular taco on the menu is the Spicy Tikka Chicken Taco, by far,” said Houston-based General Manager Terry Pence. “People don’t realize how much goes into each taco. Everything is well thought out. The sauce, seasonings and tortillas work together to make it a tasty experience.”
Velvet Taco earns bragging rights not only for their tasty tacos, but also for all the made-from-scratch menu items. All of the sauces and condiments are made fresh daily as are their tortillas and decadent Red Velvet Cake. The meat items are slow-roasted in-house and their sauces are the bright spots on many of the tacos, adding just the right amount of heat or sweetness.
A visit to Velvet Taco wouldn’t be complete without a taste of the WTF, otherwise known as the Weekly Taco Feature. These tacos switch out weekly and often feature seasonal ingredients. The side dishes will also round out your meal nicely. The Elote Corn is a creamy cup of goodness, while the Red Curry Coconut Queso is also a menu favorite. It is a twist on traditional queso with its light curry undercurrent.
Tacos aren’t complete without a kick-ass margarita and Velvet Taco delivers in spades. Their margaritas change seasonally and have a little more alcohol than your garden-variety margarita. (You’ve been warned!) During my visit, I tried the Blood Orange Margarita, and it was very flavorful and paired nicely with my meal.
If there isn’t a Velvet Taco near you, don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long – there are currently nine locations in Texas and beyond, with plans for further expansion in 2019. It is hard not to agree with the sentiment on the website: their tacos might not change the world, but they are pretty freakin’ great.
Cover: Served all day, the popular brunch menu at Velvet Taco is worth a try. Courtesy photo
Gabi De la Rosa lives in Houston with her husband and three children. You can usually find her at a great local restaurant or out exploring HTX with her family. Visit her on Instagram @gabioftheroses_htx