Ricardo Valerio is no stranger to hard work. He journeyed to America from Honduras at a young age and worked in restaurants across the country. Starting as a dishwasher, Ricardo proved himself and was given one tabletop to wait. His charm and smile not only won over customers but the owners of the establishment. Soon he was given another table. Then another. Before he knew it, he was in charge of an entire section. Quickly making his way up the ladder, Ricardo was told that, due to being an immigrant, his dreams of success would not come to pass. Not deterred, Ricardo emptied his bank account and decided to start the restaurant HE wanted to run; a place that offered fresh food in a casual setting. Before making his move to Florida, he called his father to give him the news. His dad, an alum of USL, was happy for his son but gave him one piece of advice.
"If you can't make it in Lafayette, you can't make it anywhere!"
Ricardo accepted the challenge.
"Honduras" literally translates as "depths" in Spanish. One look at the menu at Urbano's Taqueria and the depth that is ingrained in Ricardo's DNA shows. With a concept of mixing cuisines spanning the globe inside a tortilla, Urbano's elevates the simple tortilla and breaks the taco pigeonholed you may associate it with. It's not just Mexican; it's Mesoamerican, Caribbean and beyond. The menu totes 26 original tacos; each with its own flavors and nuances. Ricardo has 98 total working taco recipes that he introduces occasionally as specials, so make sure to ask what isn't on the menu but can be done.
Start your meal with guacamole and plantain chips. The smooth and creamy texture is like no other guacamole in town and the slightly less sweet cousins of the Cavendish banana act as the perfect vehicle for the guacamole in both texture and flavor.
The Chicken Empandas are paired with avocado and fresh salsa. The cabbage adds a nice crunch to the soft, flaky crust.
Taking a different approach from classic re-fried beans, Urbano's gives a nod to Cajun and Creole culture by featuring Red Bean Re-fried Beans. The smooth texture and familiar taste is the perfect blend of two cultures.
The Rotisserie Corn is as authentic as it comes. The sweet corn is combined with chilies and mayo. It's fresh and light and the flavors took me back to my time spent south of the border.
I tried more tacos than should have been allowed. All were delicious.
The Baja tacos, offered with either shrimp or fish, were light and fresh. The Street Pastor taco was smokey with a kick of spice.
Even with so many delicious tacos, there is one that stood out to me.
Panko breaded shrimp with sweet Thai chili sauce, shredded cabbage, sliced radish, green onions and cilantro offers a cool mash-up of flavors; a combination that, to me, tastes like Chinese food on a tortilla.
Save a little room for the Tres leche Cake.
Urbano's will be unleashing a food truck on the roads of Lafayette next week and is set to open a second location in Baton Rouge this upcoming year.
Urbano's is a cool, hip, fresh place to catch the game, live music and a good meal. Visit this "Eat This, Lafayette" recommendation for delicious tacos and a fun atmosphere.