Hanging around the back door of a restaurant asking one of the workers to hand you food sounds both pathetic and creepy, but Velvet Taco at 4819 Washington Avenue actually wants people to do that.
Even diners who have been to Velvet Taco before might not have noticed the painting with the big arrow on the wall next to the back door. (In the case of the Houston location, it’s technically on the side of the building, as the patio is in back.)
In exchange for a twenty-spot, diners receive a sizable rotisserie chicken, two sides of elote (Mexican-style corn with crema, lime and chile), a smoky hot sauce of roasted chiles, eight tortillas (choose corn or flour) and a pico de gallo that includes kernels of corn.
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The chicken isn’t as deeply roasted as the rotisserie birds found at grocery stores, but it’s larger, meatier and more fragrant thanks to being rubbed with thyme, a generous amount of rosemary and parsley. The skin is well-rendered, which gives the whole bird a buttery quality. These chickens are brined before roasting, so the flesh is seasoned all the way through. (Some may actually find it a tad too salty but we enjoyed it.)
The corn tortillas we received were tender, golden rounds. Keep these wrapped until eating lest they dry out. If these do start to dry out at home, put the stack on a plate between two moist paper towels and microwave just 15 seconds to refresh them.
The best day to go is Monday, when the backdoor special is only $10, but considering the convenience of being able to grab a sizable to-go meal in five minutes or less, even $20 seems reasonable.
Keeping in the spirit of a game with the air of an illicit transaction, it’s cash only. Don’t worry; the nice people inside really will come back and bring food.