Ranchero Taqueria
 Akron, Ohio        Date of Visit  08/04/14      
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So. One place remains on Jegunda’s Movoto list. We are in the Falls, its in the Falls, time to get our taco on. This place was written up as the best place to get one in the area. The place could be accurately described as humble. The space is divided into three sections, the kitchen the dining room and a bar. The furniture is pretty meager but everything looks pretty clean on the floor and while you can see into the kitchen it’s hard to gauge the sanitation from a glance.  There are a couple of folks in the kitchen and a couple of quiet servers on the floor.  



Pretty Average Chips And Salsa

We were delivered a basket of chips with mild and spicy salsas while we looked over the simple and straight-forward menu. Steph added a bit of queso for the chips and we ordered two American style tacos, two Mexican style enchiladas and three Mexican style tacos.

The chips were below average needing salt and some fryer freshness to stand out. On the other hand the salsas were bright and fresh tasting. Both were on the chunky side and reflected all of the veg and herb flavors you would expect.

 The spicy is a long way from the intensity spicy could describe, but both worked with the chips and atop the other options. I have had some salty quesos, this little bowl of white goop would give a deer pause from the saltiness. It was way too much for just dipping the chips in but could be tamed down with some salsa or by drizzling it over a taco.


I found the tacos and enchiladas split between ends of the boring/extraordinary spectrum. First a caveat. I know the soft corn tortillas these are served in are probably more authentic than what I am used to…but I don’t like them…at all. I can take the soft texture but the aggressive masa harina flavor just overwhelms me. All of their tacos came with two of these envelops…not sure why that is…in case you want to split the filling?, in case one splits?, because the flavor of one is just not enough? One remains too much for me, especially with the fillings I found to lean toward the boring end. Once I tried them all, I started scooping the filling onto the chips and found the awesome versions even more awesome.

The most boring to me were the two American beef style tacos. The styles are determined by what is layered atop the protein, in this case sour cream, cheese, lettuce and tomato. ‘Merica! As with most ground beef tacos I’ve had in Mexican restaurants, there is no discernable seasoning in the beef itself. No thinned out sour cream or cheese is going to salvage that. The tortilla completely obliterated everything inside. A splash from a bottle of hot sauce or several bottles could lift the taco from the doldrums, but they are strangely absent at Ranchero. Not a bottle to be seen. We could have asked for some but the two servers were debating something in the back of the dining room.


The American Tacos Did Little To Impress

But Most Of The Mexican Tacos Wowed

Things took a turn with the Mexican tacos, topped with grilled onions, cilantro and lime. I really, really wanted to try the tongue taco. The way the server said they were out made me think they are out on a permanent basis. Instead, they let me split the three between chicken, chorizo and carnitas. The chicken taco was remnicient of the American beefers, chopped grilled chicken…that’s it…except for the tortilla. Tacos - Boring. Me – Unimpressed. Then came the chorizo. The greasy, dusky, spicy, ruddy, forward sausage was gorgeous. Suddenly, their place on the list made a little more sense. Then I tried the carnitas. It was topped with a cactus salad. It was wonderful. I would watch Charlotte’s Web and Babe: Pig in the City then personally carry both swine back to the kitchen demanding carnitas with cactus. Piled on a chip with a bit of salsa it was nearly perfect.


Chicken Fared About The Same As The Beef

But Chorizo Jumps Onto Your Palate

The Carnitas & Cactus Salad Is Rock Star

The Only Thing To Conquer The Tortilla, Enchilada Sauce

The chicken enchiladas ought not have been all that great. The ubiquitous tortilla, the uninspired chicken, the enchilada sauce. Oh, wait. That was the first appearance of the enchilada sauce which managed to beat the tortilla into submission and lend appeal to the chicken. One of the most flavorful I remember, the sauce is rich and round with tomato and spices. I should have dunked the beef and chicken tacos into this slick of delicious.

Steph added a side of rice which we won’t even talk about, so sad, I want to remember the enchilada. I wonder, can you get chorizo or carnitas enchiladas? Not all wow’s but some options are distinctively different from the rest of the local options and I found some of those to be excellent.

The difference between the two styles likely rests more in the proteins than the toppings so avoid the familiar beef and chicken, order something else and top them with whatever you like.

I "Don't Remember" Getting This



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