Victor Albisu loves falling through culinary rabbit holes. For his next descent, the chef who has prepared tacos every which way at Taco Bamba and tackled progressive Mexican cooking at Poca Madre will is studying the myriad ways to prepare an egg.
Albisu plans to open Huevos, a fast-casual Latin restaurant that will serve all-day egg dishes, coffee, and alcohol, in Ballston sometime next spring. He’s secured a lease for the 1,500-square-foot space at 4000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite C, the former site of Mike Isabella’s ill-fated ramen shop, Yona.
“When I opened Taco Bamba, I wasn’t some sort of taco master or expert. I was just somebody who was super interested in it.” Albisu says. “This feels the same to me in that way. We’re going to tackle it. We’re going to do something novel and new in the area, and hopefully it will speak to people.”
The chef stresses the menu is still in development but says he’s playing with putting eggs inside bacon and cheese empanadas and fried egg rolls with chorizo, cheese, and poblano chiles. He’s developing a barbecue brisket that will go on top of chilaquiles. An early version of green eggs and jamón pairs a soft-poached egg with jalapeno whipped potatoes and crispy ham. More smoked meats and fish will go into large flour tortillas and Mexican tortas.
There will be daily specials and weekend brunch specials, including souffléed pancakes that used to appear at Del Campo, the South American steakhouse Albisu has since swapped out for Poca Madre. The chef plans to pair egg salad with caviar and salt and vinegar potato chips, his preferred method of consuming the luxury item.
“I don’t remember the last time I made a dollar on caviar,” he says. “I always put too much on the dish. It’s always a fun, generous offering now for the guest.”
Albisu says he’s still testing different sources of farm eggs, but Huevos is “definitely going the organic route.” He hasn’t landed on a coffee purveyor yet, either. He expects to preview Huevos during an appearance at Guy Fieri’s Beachside Barbecue in Miami Beach this February.
Since opening the first Taco Bamba in 2013, Albisu has grown the taqueria into a local chain with four locations in Virginia (Falls Church, Vienna, Springfield, Fairfax) and one in Penn Quarter. Since opening in the old Del Campo space last year, Poca Madre has earned a spot on Eater D.C.’s essential 38 restaurants and was recently recognized by Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema on his list of top 10 restaurants in the area.
Albisu says he’s always eaten a lot of eggs, following an adage from his Cuban grandparents that the yolks were the healthiest part. His mother, who oversaw some of Albisu’s first jobs while he worked in her Latin market, is particularly excited to see what he does at Huevos.
“My mom was always appalled about the amount of eggs I ate,” he says. “When I told her I was doing this, she was so happy. She was like, ‘You’re going to have a really good time doing it.’”