Actually a chain in Texas, Velvet Taco Chicago is the only location outside of Texas (amazing!) and is a favorite for its unique, but delicious tacos. Velvet Taco has a really casual, but hip vibe, where you can look at the giant wall-menu and order at the counter before taking a seat.
After spending the afternoon in the Gold Coast area, my friend (who is an avid taco lover) and I decided to try it because the restaurant reviews were good. It was pretty clear that the place was popular among locals, and on a Saturday night around 7 pm (prime dinner time), it was pretty full.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Gerzina, Eater Chicago (chicago.eater.com)
Broken down by type of meat, the Velvet Taco menu has chicken, pork, beef, and even vegetarian tacos. You order single tacos, with most customers typically ordering 2-3 per meal. I decided to try the Picnic Chicken taco, a favorite amongst many online reviewers, the Grilled Flank Steak taco and split their famous tater tots with my friend.
The Picnic Chicken Taco:
I have to say, both tacos definitely lived up to my expectations. The Picnic Chicken taco, featuring avocado crema sauce, honey-dijon potato salad alongside the chicken in a flour tortilla doesn’t sound like it’d be amazing, but all of the elements went surprisingly well together. I was particularly surprised by the avocado crema, like most people, I tend to think of guacamole or just plain avocado when it comes to consuming avocados. While unconventional, the crema texture was so good, especially with the dijon flavors from the potato salad. (I also just love potato salad, so that was a great plus in my book).
Photo courtesy of trycaviar.com
The Grilled Flank Steak Taco:
Though I don’t think anything could beat the Picnic Chicken taco, I also loved the Grilled Flank Steak taco, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who, like me, loves steak and meat. The steak was perfectly cooked, not dry at all, and flavorful. Besides the steak, the taco is made up of portobello, white queso, and grilled red onion, all held in a crispy corn tortilla.
Tater Tots with Avocado Crema and a Fried Egg:
But as if the tacos weren’t enough, the tater tots hit the spot. Though perfectly crunchy (but not over-fried) on the outside and fluffy on the inside, the tots themselves weren’t even the best part. Loaded with goat cheese, smoked cheddar, that amazing avocado crema they also put on the Picnic Chicken taco, chili butter, bacon, and a fried egg on top, these loaded tots alone are worth coming back for. And at only $5.50 (the price of some tacos, and even cheaper than others), they might also be the best value.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Blaskovich, Eats Blog Dallas News (eatsblog.dallasnews.com)
Bomb Margarita While You Wait:
Because Velvet Taco is so busy during prime meal times, sometimes the wait time can be a little longer, but that’s to be expected in Chicago. However, you can get a BOMB frozen margarita to sip on while you wait, or a can of beer, both of which add to Velvet Taco’s hip, divey vibe. Or if you’re craving something sweet to go with your tacos, try some of their apparently amazing red velvet cake! (I was too full to get some cake, sadly).
Photo courtesy of The Local Tourist (chicago.thelocaltourist.com)
I can’t believe I had never found this place before, especially since it’s located by two of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. As a taco aficionado who is also friends with plenty of other fellow taco aficionados, this is a new favorite for Taco Tuesday. I will come back to all the time, and I’ll definitely have to try Velvet Taco Delivery. I won’t be getting tired of that avocado crema or those tater tots anytime soon, that’s for sure.
This post was written by Cindy Luan from Bootler.