We found Mi Ranchito by accident. Inside the tiny Sharonville restaurant, paint-spattered construction workers tucked into whole fried tilapia, and we stared at a menu that was both familiar (think burritos and enchiladas) and somewhat baffling: huachinango (red snapper) and caldo de res (a traditional Mexican beef soup).
I followed their lead and ordered mojarra, the humble tilapia, in two deliciously different preparations: Veracruzana, a tomato-based sauce with green olives and bay leaves, and a la diabla, with a smoky paste of guajillo chiles.
The chef and owner, Maximino Rueda, grew up on the beach in Oaxaca cooking with his grandmother, and deep but unfussy skill comes through in his seafood.
Another standout was the pozole, a traditional hominy and pork soup heavy with the flavors of cumin and oregano. Other traditional dishes are a harder sell. Sopa de menudo, with its slithery tripe and gelatinous cow’s feet in broth, tasted salty and incomplete even with the accompanying lime and chopped jalapeno. Everything at Mi Ranchito shows attention to detail, but the more Americanized the dish, the more ordinary the results. No need to be tripe-level adventurous, but stray outside of the Tex-Mex box and you will be richly rewarded.
Mi Ranchito, 11277 Reading Rd., Sharonville, (513) 554-1444