Del Valle Restaurant & Market
Posted by Tampa Bay Food Monster on August 26, 2010
DEL VALLE, restaurant and market on fowler and 15th street, next to trang viet cuisine. behind this unassuming, blend-into-the-background storefront, lies a wealth of delicious mexican food, groceries, and some DELIGHTFUL western apparel. and i probably never would have noticed it had my friend not told me about it.
the inside is kind of sad. there’s hardly any room to eat, with maybe nine tables for diners. the majority of the space is taken up either by the large kitchen, or the rest of the store (which has a whole bunch of fun stuff, including religious-themed candles and mexican candy!). there are a couple televisions set up, which i always find distracting. but i feel like the boring exterior and crappy interior make this place all that much more special.
after perusing the menu, i decided to go ahead and get a steak burrito. i was tempted by the chile rellenos, a dish i very much enjoy, but felt that the burrito would give me a better impression of their standard fare. my friend ordered a few enchiladas. we also asked for some guacamole, and a chicken huarache to split.
the burrito was pretty excellent. nicely grilled exterior. the steak was great, and the rest of the innards were fresh and pretty delicious. and i don’t know if this was a mistake or not, but near the end, i found a piece of pineapple in the burrito… it definitely added to the overall taste.
my friend’s meal was superior to mine, however. the enchiladas themselves were just fine, but the sauce… the secret to its success was in the sauce. this… incredible… rojo sauce. it was a dark brown, and it had a subdued, almost smokey flavor. there was a bit of a bite to it, too. but nothing was up front; it all just settled in nicely with each bite. the meal was quite simple, really… no cheese or anything fancy, just a bit of diced onion on top. nice.
the huarache was really good too! i had never had one, so didn’t know what to expect – beans, chicken, lettuce and cheese, on some sort of fried dough, which tasted a bit of peanuts. by itself it was a bit bland, but with the addition of some of the hot sauce on the table, it was delicious.
BUT the real star of the show was this:
this shit was “DAS BOMBE”. yeah. it was that good. it was nice and chunky. fresh, likely made in the bowl it was served in, with big pieces of tomato and onion in it. and it had a nice little spice to it too. it was simple, and perfect.
the whole thing was just over twenty bucks for the two of us, so it was quite a good deal. we both left with leftovers. although this wasn’t the best mexican cuisine i’ve ever had, it definitely had its own personality, and that alone makes it worth checking out. add to it the cool market with hilarious cowboy boots (amongst other leather goods), and you’ve got someplace worth checking out.
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