By Sara Newberry
I’m a regular at Torchy’s. I’ve been to Rusty Taco multiple times. But for some reason, I had never visited Velvet Taco before a couple of weeks ago. Like the other two places, the flavors are mostly not traditional taco flavors: here you’ll see fillings like Chicken Tikka and Shrimp & Grits alongside Annatto Shredded Pork and slow-roasted brisket. After two visits, I am a fan.
The Spicy Chicken Tikka is the taco I’d heard most about, and the hype was not wrong. The tikka masala sauce is spicy, creamy and full of flavor. Rice and raita were there too, like an Indian meal all wrapped up in a small but hearty package. The Fried Paneer is also not to be missed — many of the same Indian-inspired flavors, but vegetarian. A falafel taco arrives wrapped in a lettuce leaf, which is a nice change from the tortilla: not so much starch. The falafel are fine, not dry, and the toppings — pickled vegetables, pea tendrils, tahini crema — play along well.
The Buffalo Chicken is a plate of wings wrapped up in a flour tortilla, with the blue cheese and celery included. The Nashville Hot Tofu, a play on Nashville Hot Chicken, might have been my second favorite after the Spicy Chicken Tikka. The texture of the batter perfectly replicates the best fried chicken, and the texture of the tofu was perfect with it. I didn’t miss the chicken in the least.
The beef options run the gamut from traditional, with a Slow-Roasted Brisket, topped with red chile mayo, avocado and queso fresco, to the Kobe Bacon Burger, which arrives with pickles and smoked cheddar. “Tastes like a bacon cheeseburger!” was the verdict.
The selection of pork tacos will also satisfy all different sorts of cravings. If pastor is your thing, choose the Annatto Shredded Pork. If you’re more in a Korean BBQ mood, the Korean Pig is tailor-made for you. The Cuban Pig is an excellent play on the Cuban sandwich.
Sides of queso and elotes didn’t interest me; the tater tots with the local fried egg were the way to go. Goat cheese, smoked cheddar and chile oil seem like a lot of flavors but they combine surprisingly well.
The misses, a Chicken and Waffle taco and a Fish & Chips creation, while not at the level of the other fillings I tried, were not terrible. But neither of them was as successful as the others I tried.
Velvet Taco is the perfect taco place if you are craving tacos, but also if you’re craving anything but tacos. Sure, there are hits and misses. But the hits are so good that the misses are forgivable.
4622 Greenville Avenue
Monday – Wednesday:
11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. – 4 a.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 a.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.