Taqueria Mixteca shows the West Side their best side
East Dayton’s Taqueria Mixteca, recognized as one of the top taco connections in town, now has a location in Trotwood on Shiloh Springs Road. The original location on East Third Street has been serving up legitimate Mexican food for some years now, but I had yet to check out their new spot just around the corner from the old Salem Mall.
The past couple of years have been busy for the Mixteca crew – the new restaurant opened last fall, a year after being featured on the national news during the creation of Welcome Dayton, our very own program encouraging inclusion of Dayton’s immigrant populations If you’re lucky, you might find them at local festivals. Since my first experience at the original location before they were thrust into the spotlight, I’ve been hooked on the simplicity, affordability and all around goodness of their food. The major drawback, in my mind, is the layout of the place – it’s not ideal for groups, although they did manage to squeeze in a couple of questionably positioned long tables right in the middle of the place. Enter the Trotwood location – with the opening of the new restaurant you’re able to spread out a bit more comfortably. And lucky for folks out West, the food hasn’t changed a bit.
When we arrived, there was only one other table in the restaurant, a space featuring both booths and tables with more capacity and a better, more open layout than the Third Street location. As we sat and enjoyed their chips and addictive salsa, more and more people joined us and I felt the potential of their new venture. Providing an updated menu in both Spanish and English, I noticed a handful of changes that have popped up over the past year. Specifically, I was excited to see the addition of a couple of my favorite dishes – gorditas and huaraches. I didn’t recall seeing these the last time I had visited their Third Street location, and while perusing the menu we ordered a couple of horchatas – the sweet, milky rice water that provides a cooling balance to spicy dishes.
Seeing as there were some new things available, we decided to try an appetizer outside of our usual suspects. The Choriqueso ($3.99), a cheesy Mexican sausage concoction meant for dipping – and a cold beer, in my opinion – is a great way to start. Soon after the appetizer arrived, our food began arriving in shifts. I am fine with this, as I often try several different items, therefore the table isn’t cluttered with a half dozen dishes getting cold. If you’re not, be aware that you might not get everything at once. That said, the first arrival was the Carnitas Huarache ($5.95), an oblong, thick, corn tortilla-esque delivery system loaded with seasoned pork, lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado and sour cream. Add a little hot sauce – three different kinds were available – and this is a really satisfying alternative to your basic burrito or its cousin, the tostada.
As we were sawing away at the huarache, the next plate arrived. This time it was the chiles rellenos ($7.50) – not brand new, but my dining companion’s favorite dish. Two large poblano peppers are stuffed with cheese, dredged in an egg batter and fried to perfection. Served with rice and beans (and oddly without a sauce, but this was quickly rectified with their lovely salsa), it was quickly decided that these were our favorite in Dayton and the best we’d had in a while. A moment later, the gordita ($2.85) arrived. This is the real deal, so forget what you’ve had from the drive-thru for your fifth meal or whatever they’re calling it these days. A pita-like pouch made from corn flour, the gordita is stuffed with your choice of meat – in our case grilled steak and onions – along with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream. I remember these from Chicago, where you can get real Mexican food 24/7 – I’ve eaten more than a few of these at four in the morning. Everything was great, the service was friendly and accommodating to everyone – including our littlest roommate – and eventually the dining room filled out a bit and it started feeling like this whole Trotwood thing was going to work out. While we didn’t hit the more standard items like tacos and burritos this time, though we did get tacos and a burrito to go and were just as pleased – although I’m going to skip the onion on the burrito next time. They also offer Chilaquiles ($7.99), a saucy dish with a couple of fried eggs and good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Next time, I’ll be trying this, as they offer a choice of red, green or spicy sauces, which I’ve not seen before. It’s a personal favorite, and I’m pretty sure it’s also a newer addition to the menu, if I’m not mistaken.
Taqueria Mixteca has been at or near the top of my list for good, cheap eats in Dayton and is now officially my go-to Mexican joint, solidified by the addition of the Trotwood location and our experience there. I think you’ll be hard pressed to spend so little on so much, and as my littlest roommate always says when we’re there – “morchata please!”
Taqueria Mixteca is located at 1609 E. Third St. in Dayton and at 2190 Shiloh Springs Road in Trotwood. For more information call 937.258.2654 or visit taqueriamixteca.com.
Reach DCP food critic Tom Baker at TomBaker@DaytonCityPaper.com.