Taqueria Mercado: Fairfield, Ohio. A Good Goat Taco is Never Too Far Away
Posted by cmh gourmand on March 15, 2011
I had one sole purpose for frequenting Fairfield, Ohio (the greater Cincinnati area one) – Jungle Jim’s. It is the best grocery store ever. I have never written about it because they do not allow photography. However, there is a Mexican Restaurant 1.4 miles down the Dixie Highway that is worth your time when visiting Fairfield and may be worth the drive without the Jungle Jim’s detour side trip.
Taqueria Mercado is not just a restaurant but a one stop shop for most things Mexican including a small grocery store (tienda), a bakery (panaderia) and a meat counter. Breakfast is served daily and includes fresh squeezed orange juice and six sumptuous Mexican egg dishes which can also be converted to torta or burrito form on request. They make the best Huevos Rancheros that I am aware of in the State of Ohio. Si es la verdad.
Tacos are served Mexican style with no dumbing down for the Gringos. The meat selections would make any Columbus Taco Truck fan envious (carne asada, al pastor pork, barbacoa, carnitas, chorizo, tripe, saudero and Lengua (tongue). The lunch/dinner menu includes all the standards: burritos, quesadillas, fajitas, etc. as well as some unexpectedly good vegetarian options, several shrimp dishes and exceptional house dinner plates.
For first time visitors, I suggest working as a team by ordering as much as possible with at least some initial intention of sharing. The House Special includes grilled chicken, grilled shrimp and well-seasoned Mexican rice covered in the house white Mexican cheese dip. Get the cheese dip on something, on everything if possible. Many of the entrees are served with fresh, steaming hot tortillas which will need at least five minutes to cool down. Chips and salsa costs money here – which might come as a shock to some that are used to gringoized Mexican chains but what Taqueria Mercado has to offer is well worth $1.50. The chips are delightfully fresh and not mass produced. The salsa is spectacular and served in a large bowl. It was so good, I considered taking some to drink as shots later. There are several squirt bottle sauces at the table as well, they are equally good and immensely edible and drinkable.
Speaking of shots, I should give a shout out to the Margaritas. The large house margarita on the rocks is very good. It has a latent, stealthy slam-dunk drunkenness power that should not be unobserved or underappreciated. I am glad a had a designated driver and that I opted not to buy anything during my somewhat impaired first thirty minutes at Jungle Jim’s.
Last and not least, I will bring the weekend specials to your attention. Taqueria Mercado got goat. Good goat. Very good, goaty, well-cooked goat. On Saturday and Sunday you can order goat tacos, a platter of perfectly cooked goat meat or goat soup. Or you could get Menudo, aka, Tripe soup. Taqueria Mercado also offers a daily special during each weekday including authentic favorites such as huaraches and pozole.
Desserts are made in house at the bakery. The Tres Leches is tasty. I have not sampled much Mexican fare in the Cincinnati metro area but I will go head and say this is probably the best in that city. I have sampled just about every Latino fueled restaurant in Columbus and based on that extensive research I can say that Taqueria Mercado is as good as the best Columbus has to offer. The restaurant is worth the drive to Fairfield if you want to eat great Mexican food at a very good price.
6507 Dixie Highway
Monday to Sunday 9:00 am to 9:30 pm