Photography by Kathy Tran
On Wednesdays, most regulars eat whatever Victor Hugo comes up with.
He calls it “Victor’s corner.”
Sometimes he makes his favorite food of all time, chiles rellenos, or street-style quesadillas. He might cook his grandmother’s enchiladas or seafood enchiladas in a white wine sauce.
The restaurateur and chef of VH Casual Dining and Bar is in the kitchen five days a week. He answers the phone. And he’s in the dining room too. The restaurant, which opened six years ago, does have longtime employees, but this is Victor’s show.
When a regular pops in at opening on a Thursday, he kiddingly waves him off.
“Oh, no, not that guy,” he says.
A lot of customers don’t even look at the menu, which includes a wagyu beef shoulder pot roast, a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and duck and goat cheese taquitos. Either they already know what they want, or they always order whatever the special is.
These regulars, mostly Oak Cliff residents and employees of Methodist Dallas Medical Center, are what keeps VH going.
“If it wasn’t for my regulars, this COVID thing would’ve killed us,” Hugo says. “They’d order [takeout] every day if they could. For the month of May, I think I did better than if I would’ve been open.”
It’s still been a struggle. VH typically sells out the restaurant for holiday parties.
Plans for a second restaurant in Richardson, where Hugo lives with his wife and three daughters, were sidelined. But as long as customers keep showing up, Hugo will keep cooking for them.
Thursdays are for paella, and seafood Fridays could feature fish and chips or fish tacos. The dining room is small, but there is plenty of patio seating.
Besides giving neighbors a second living room, part of Hugo’s strategy has been filling holes in the market.
VH used to be one of the few Oak Cliff restaurants open on Mondays, but now that more places in Bishop Arts are open that day, Hugo decided to take Monday and Tuesday off. But he plans to begin offering lunch service Wednesday-Friday soon.
Hours: 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 4-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Closed