The Latin Kitchen
Venturing into Del Campo with Victor Albisu
By Lauren Wiseman | June 17, 2013
For Albisu, there is nothing that can't be charred. "Everything touches the grill," he explained and once said, "I char everything that makes sense to char." He loves to char vegetables adding to their flavor and texture, just as with his beet salad on the menu.
He is careful though to make the distinction between burnt and burned. "Burnt has a texture and a flavor that I find amazing. It's an accent on a dish, an added tone," he said.
A prolific guitarist, Albisu finds a natural correlation with music and cooking. "When I see an ingredient, there are different ways to play with it, present it, just like in rock and roll."
With Taco Bamba, however, Albisu is trying to achieve a completely different tone. Located in Falls Church, Va., his authentic Mexican taqueria is strictly a carryout, counter service establishment. With no tables or chairs, patrons can stand and eat at the counter or take their tacos to go.
While the space may be no-frills, Albisu is not serving an ordinary taco. Rather, the $2 to $3 tacos will be filled with odd bits like sweetbreads and tongue, pork and pineapple, and chorizo straight from his mom's butcher shop next door. Taco Bamba also serves as homage to Albisu's youth. As a kid, he sold homemade Cuban sandwiches behind a "Victor's Deli" sign in his mom's market, then located in Alexandria.
"Tacos are one of my very favorite foods," he said. "I want to take that kind of authenticity and make it accessible to people."
While Del Campo is still in its infancy and Taco Bamba just opened, Albisu is happy he took the leap more than a year ago to become his own boss.
"For the first time in my career, I feel completely right with what I'm producing."