I was on my way to a new mexican restaurant--more a taqueria--on Foothill, made a wrong turn and decided to try out the also new mexican restaurnat on Mission and "D", La Victoria's Mexican Cocina & Cocktails. An earlier chowhound had asked about it, but no one had any details at that time (about a month ago).
The spot used to house Pablitos, home of killer Margaritas--pretty tasty, maybe with a bit of mix, but mostly tequila and some lime. They also had a wonderful chile verde--spicy and served the old fashioned Mex/Amer way: a huge platter the size of a frisbee on steroids with meat and sauce, refried beans, rice, a salad of iceberg lettuce, pale tomato, an unidentifiable dressing and corn tortilla. But, I and my arteries loved it.
It's now the home of La Victoria. From the review I read in the Daily Review (which I could not locate in a recent search on line), the owners have put a great deal of effort into updating the decor and into making it a "gourmet" Mexican restaurant.
The inside has lost the manger scene which used to cover the entire back of the Pablitos all year long (or so it seemed to me) and the new decorations are very hip--magenta, deep purple and gold. It's still really dark, though. Sit by the windows.
I ordered a shot of El Patron reposado. It was served with the traditional limes, but also with two olives and a shot glass full of salty peanuts. The peanuts made a great chaser. Very good start.
I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and ordered a shredded chicken sope and Caldo Tlapeno. Way too much food for me, but I was emboldened by the tequila.
The marinated chicken came out on top of a large (in diameter larger than your average corn tortilla, but just slightly smaller than a flour one), verrrrry thick corn tortilla--almost the thickness of a waffle. It was deliciously crunchy. The tortilla was topped with a slather of refried beans and a lot of the chicken (which had been marinaded in a red sauce that made the meat moist and flavorful). Topped with lettuce and cheese and with a side of guacamole (the real stuff) and sour cream (not crema), it was wonderful ($4.00).
The Caldo Tlapeno was also very good. Served in a deep bowl with literally quarter breasts of chicken, the soup was loaded with garbanzo beans, potatoes and carrots. It was spicy, but I wished it had a bit more heat. The usual lime and rice on the side rounded out the add-ins. The caldo also came with homemade (and they really were) corn tortillas--moist and nicely flavored, but not spectacular. ($7.95,more or less)
The chips were a little too oily and the salsa a little too tomato soup like for me. I asked for a tomatillo salsa which was a better choice (although it was warm and probably came off the chile verde?)
So, not up to the standards of Fonda, Dona Tomas or Tamarindo, but a nice addition to the Hayward, San Leandro, C.V., area.
La Victoria Mexican Cocina & Cocktails
22800 Mission Blvd
Hayward, CA 94541