Velvet Taco, the popular Dallas-based fusion taco chain, has opened in the Woodlands. Local residents are packing the new location (on Gosling just south of Research) and devouring the interesting menu of fusion tacos, inspired by cuisines around the world. We’ve visited twice when there wasn’t an empty table to be found, even at off-peak hours.
Let’s address one thing up front: These aren’t traditional Mexican or Tex-Mex tacos. While we love a great Mexican taco, we can appreciate the creativity that the Velvet team exhibits in their unique offerings. We’re always up for a food adventure, and are glad to see a restaurant expanding the potential flavor profiles of this Texas culinary icon. The food is unique and not just another “me-too” taco joint offering the same traditional tacos as everyone else. The contrast isn’t subtle; any real foodie will immediately grasp and appreciate the difference.
The location is a standalone building tucked into the trees, and it’s a cool and funky setting. Fun seating options indoors, and a lovely patio outdoors, makes a great setting for friends and families to get together and enjoy some very creative tacos. Service is crisp and friendly; their staff circulates to anticipate patron needs.
We’ve sampled a bunch of their tacos, and here are our favorites (so far):
Spicy Tikka Chicken brings Indian cuisine to the taco. It includes crispy chicken tenders, a housemade tikka masala, cilantro basmati rice, basil, and creme. We were pleasantly surprised by the depth and complexity of the tikka masala, and the result is an enticing desi-style taco that is incredibly flavorful without being overpoweringly spicy.
Chicken & Waffle is a Southern classic. Fried chicken tender, peppercorn gravy, sweet green apple slaw, maple syrup, and peppered bacon come together to deliver this breakfast classic on a unique waffle tortilla. It’s a surprising flavor profile, and utterly craveable.
Slow Roasted Angus Brisket is definitely Texas and Mexico influenced. Barbacoa-style brisket, a spicy aioli, queso blanco, avocado relish, and micro greens are wrapped in a comté-crusted flour tortilla. This is the perfect choice for a less adventurous patron.
Korean Fried Rice brings a uniquely Asian profile. Egg fried rice, Korean pork, pickled red onion, grilled pineapple, and cilantro are layered on a flour tortilla. The result is reminiscent of the classic al pastor, but with a distinctly Korean spin.
We were pleasantly surprised by the flavors, variety, and quality of the tacos at Velvet Taco. The food is unlike an inexplicably popular Austin-based taco concept, which frankly doesn’t hold a torch to Velvet Taco. We’re glad they’ve brought a location of this creative spin on tacos to the Woodlands, and look forward to our next visit.