As the popularity of Mexican food has grown around Cincinnati, we’re starting to see menus with more traditional dishes and even some downright creativity that’s born of Mexican (rather than culinary school) sensibility. The bean burritos and beef fajitas are still there, but tacos de pescado (fish tacos), tortas (savory Mexican sandwiches), and hearty sopa de camaron (shrimp soup) are cropping up. El Trio is a great place for sampling, especially since they brag about their authentic mole and pork tamales in traditional corn husks.
In addition to good food, there’s one thing El Trio has that the myriad of local south-of-the-border places don’t: a salsa bar. I counted a dozen salsas when I was there, ranging from the traditional red to pumpkin, peanut, and avocado. While these may seem exotic, I was told they were traditional salsas from different parts of Mexico. (Believe what you want, but they were good and complemented the flavors of the food well.) Lots of local Mexican places have opened multiple locations and run into serious consistency problems, but El Trio seems to be happy with their single location in an unlikely strip mall outside of Mariemont. The interior is refreshingly minimal and doesn’t try for that faux adobe look. With a full bar and beer by the pitcher, it’s a nice place to get together with friends for those fish tacos the Midwest seems to be crazy for right now.
El Trio, 7227 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, (513) 271-0555
Originally published in the May 2014 issue.