Look out Bakersfield, I’ve found a new favorite taqueria in Cincinnati. Mazunte has been serving authentic Mexican food from their Madisonville location for just over three months, but they seem to have nearly perfected the concept. Their restaurant is located in a very small strip of stores on Madison Road near the intersection with Red Bank.
Once you step inside Mazunte you will be greeted by a larger menu hanging over the ordering counter. From there you can see inside the open air kitchen and the adjacent wooden bar also looks over the same space. There are short of a dozen wooden tables but the bar and parallel dining counter offer plenty of space for diners. I’m told that the tables and seating were all made of re-purposed wood that was nearly sent to the burn pile. It’s definitely a unique space.
After placing our order at the counter, we were handed a basket of freshly made chips as part of our salsa bar order ($1.50). This includes unlimited trips to the chip and salsa counter near the front door. Salsas include pico de gallo, roasted tomato salsa, salsa verde, and salsa picante. The chips were whole fried tortillas and the salsas were very fresh. I think the roasted tomato was my favorite, but the salsa verde was also quite good.
Chips & Salsa
For dinner I chose the chicken memelitas topped with black bean purée, queso fresco, salsa verde, and salsa rojo ($7.75). A memelita is a thick corn tortilla made with corn masa. My plate had two memelitas that were covered with so much goodness that it would be impossible to eat this like a taco. I used a fork to devour mine and were these ever delicious. The side of rice that comes with the dish may appear rather plain but it is actually full of flavor, much better than your typical southwestern style rice.
While the menu does not list any selections for the kids, we were happy to find that they will make small quesadillas with their tortillas filled with your choice of meat and/or Mexican cheese. These even come served with a side of rice. The blue corn tortilla kind of scared off our suddenly picky two-year-old, but I found the quesadilla to be delicious. The menu features an adult version of these quesadilla that I will consider ordering in the future.
My wife ordered the mixed tacos ($9) and choose one each of the beer battered fish, braised chicken, and shredded pork. The fish taco was topped with Mexican slaw, guacamole, and mango-habanero salsa. The tacos would offer our only taste of the guacamole on this visit but it was incredible and I will definitely order a bigger serving in the future. The mix of sweet and spicy flavor was not something I was used to experiencing in guacamole but it was excellent. The fish was very good as well, making this an outstanding taco. The chicken and pork tacos were very similar and both were topped with avocado salsa and salsa rojo, both were very good and I would not hesitate to order either again.
We had an amazing first visit to Mazunte Taqueria and will absolutely be back again very soon. The food was outstanding and the service was quick and friendly.