735 View St.
Allo! Just wanted to update this review for Hernande’z. I was surprised to see in my recent visit, that Hernande’z has expanded across the way, and has split up their order/service side from their food preparation side. With this comes more seating and more staff. They still have the cards which identify which order is yours, it’s a fun touch. I went with a group of three other people, and the food arrived within 5-10 minutes. I had the huarache with puerco this time, with hot sauce. It wasn’t very hot(spice-wise), but it was fresh, and I polished off the whole thing.
Hernande’z is a great spot for lunch or dinner, with menu items ranging from a couple of dollars up to around 10. It’s simple, fresh, and most importantly, delicious. Congratulations on the expansion.
I’ve expressed my confusion in previous posts about how Victorian’s are rating restaurants on Urbanspoon, and to test this once again, I went to the #1 restaurant in Victoria, Hernande’z Cocina, in the little mall between View and Yates. I’ve been here a few times before, and it continues to grow each time I visit. I don’t recall having two menus the first time I went, so the express menu and slow-food menu must be a new option. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I chose from the slow-food menu. Hernande’z is a self-professed replica of a Central-American kitchen(cocina) fashioned after their great-grandmothers market stall in Cojutepeque, El Salvador, which is an endearing and personal touch to the experience. I liked the sounds of the huarache de pollo( $7.95). I was handed this laminated card, ‘El Diablito’, which was called when my order was up. This is very much a cafe set-up, colourful plastic table clothes, and reggaeton blaring in the background.
When the huarache arrived, I traded the staff member for my diablito(devil) card, and delved straight into the heavenly huarache. Huarache is derived from the shape of the actual corn tortilla/ masa base, which resembles a sandal or oblong shape. Huaraches are actually a type of popularized sandal. The masa dough itself was chewy but didn’t put up much of a fight, it still had a soft and rich quality to it. It didn’t have the unctuousness(oily,slippery) that comes to mind with a lot of poorly executed Mexican food. The basmati rice was perfectly cooked, the chicken was perfectly moist and shredded, and the black beans were silky and full of flavour. The salsa on top was more for a punch of acidity, not for heat. The sour cream seemed thinned out, perhaps with some lime juice, but it was nice to have it evenly distributed, not in big globs. The organic greens were a nice bitter and fresh finish to this (filling) lunch. I can see why this restaurant has a faithful lunch queue. Victoria, I am slowly coming to understand what you are looking for in a restaurant. Hernande’z may be humble in appearance, but they truly care about the food. The rating is justified in their stubborn refusal to not serve anything but fresh and properly prepared food. I like when a restaurant takes charge and accountability like that, it makes the diner feel looked after. It’s good value, and packed with subtle fresh ingredients, this joint is definitely on the right track.
Food rating: 4.5/5
Service rating: 4/5