Monday, May 30, 2016

Tacos Victor

Hey guys! A little while ago I paid a visit to the Saint-Henri neighborhood for a taco Tuesday evening! This little outing was organized by Steve from MTL Promos. Annie was also tagging along with her camera.

Just a few minutes away from the Place-Saint-Henri subway metro, it's conveniently located on Notre-Dame street and quite easy to find. Tacos Victor opened on August 8th 2015, so that's about ten months ago.

With his facade painted in light blue, its big windows, and even a bench to sit, the joint already feels inviting from the outside. Passerbys wave to the people eating inside, and the people eating inside wave to the passerbys. It's like everyone feels happy just by being in the vicinity of the restaurant. 

The blind facade features street art made by one of the owner's friends to make everything look even more lively.

I mean wouldn't you want to come in? And if you do, even just to sneak a peek, you'll realize it's one of the homiest place out there.

The wooden walls and floor, even the rustic tables, add some warmth both pleasing to the eyes and the soul.

Of course because it's a family owned business, you gotta make it feel like home! If you are the type that observes a lot, you'll see many references to the Mexican culture.

Honestly I hadn't even seen the food yet and I was super excited. Why? Because it didn't feel pompous at all. Quite cozy and chill, yet you can tell a lot of care was put into the decoration and design. The kind of place that knows they don't need to impress you with the choice of materials and the design because what actually matters is the food and the vibe. Even better : everything was made and put together by Victor Soto, the owner. Talk about being handy!

On the counter that draws the line between the dining room and the kitchen you'll see mortars full of sauce ... spicy sauce! Three different kinds, made with different peppers. But beware : they're not for the faint of heart! Even the mild one is spicy so be quite gentle if you can't handle your spice.

The menu is quite simple and straight forward : tacos. One price : 6$. Easy on the brain, easy on the wallet.

Drinks follow the same rule and are homemade (except for the Jarritos of course).

By the way, did I mention that except for the table in front of the windows there are no chairs to sit on? As Victor, the owner, explained to us it's because he wanted to recreate that concept of street food from his hometown in Mexico. In actual taquerias you don't sit down to eat. You grad and go or eat while standing up. Now that's what I call staying true to one's roots!

What a pleasant surprise when he brought out the plates, along with some horchata and Jamaica drinks (made with hibiscus flower).

That one right here is the bavette taco.

This one here is the chorizo taco.

Then, you've got the shrimp taco.

Because a menu isn't complete without vegetarian options, there's the vege taco.

Don't cringe at this one : the tongue taco!

How about some entrecote taco for the meat lovers?

And last but not least, the Campechano taco, a mix of chorizo and bavette.

I can hear you from the other side of my screen asking "Why are there French fries on the tacos? Did you ask for fries?" We actually didn't. All the tacos are served that way because some nice old lady in Victor's hometown used to serve tacos that way. He got inspired and decided to do the same here and I believe he's the only one in town who makes them that way.

For my part I got to try the tongue and the Campechano tacos. Let me tell you : it was pretty darn good. The fries weren't annoying or getting in the way because they were thin and not too crispy. I found that two tacos were a pretty good portion, but then I got full quite fast with a serving of horchata. Everything on the menu is their own creation, and even the taco shells are homemade. Every month there is a special taco on the menu and they're working on vegan versions.

While I was stuffing my mouth with goodness, Victor sat down with us for a chat. What a lovely man! I was quite impressed by the person : now 35 years old, he arrived in Quebec at the of 24. He already had a taqueria back in Mexico so it's nothing new for him. However, he was already well known in the neighborhood because not only does he own a cleaning service company, but he's done so much in terms of services and volunteering that when he started announcing the opening of his taco joint, everyone couldn't wait for him to open! But giving for his community didn't stop there : even today, he offers 300 to 400 servings of soup on Thursdays during the cold days for anyone who's homeless, hungry, or cold.

As a man centered around family and the community, it's important for him to get to work with the ones close to his heart, and to encourage the neighborhood as much as possible. All the ingredients are fresh and the meats are bought at the Boucherie Notre-Dame. He's such a down to earth person that he doesn't get tired of eating tacos!

Before I leave you guys, here's his advice to anyone who'd like to open a restaurant : "You have to actually love this. You can't do it only for the money. And of course you've got to work a lot."

But the love he receives and gives back is enough to make him want to keep going.

And so that's it for today folks. Until next time!

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