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Mucho Mexican in Maineville
El Picante is owner Roberto’s Loveland flagship Mexcian cantina. I’ve seen it go balls to the walls at 5 o’clock on a Tuesday. It’s always busy. It’s good, it’s fast service, it’s stellar and portions are crippling. Last year Roberto opened El Jinete on Red Bank. Even more beautiful inside, a massive menu and again, mammoth portions, it seems to be hitting it off well with the locals. When yet another El Picante was opened in NKY (which we have not visited just yet) it struck me that Roberto may just be the Buddy LaRosa of Mexican food here in Cincy. He’s confirming that notion with the opening of a third El Picante in Maineville.
Man, if any town needs a few new joints it’s Maineville. Much money surrounds this tiny town. It’ll take a good 200k to move in the neighborhood. Yet oddly enough, there is a Putters, a Chinese take-out, pizza and that’s about it. The most popular place is Putters by far. It’s gotta be the main vein. But as far as ethnic food goes... get your cheap ass heavily Americanized sweet & sour chicken at the Kroger plaza or go home and cook. Not anymore.
Step inside and say, wow. This is the most decked out, amazingly decorated Mexican restaurant I’ve seen to date. Hand carved-brilliantly painted tables, chairs and wall murals overwhelm your eyes. Think Carnivale in living color. Everywhere you look there are awesome details to be seen and appreciated. Even the restrooms deserve a look see. The main dining room is accentuated with a bright “sun room” dining area and a cool cantina bar tucked in the corner. The cool color illuminated room is quite conducive to getting your mind right for the feast of flavors to come.
Sure there are big burritos that put Chipotle to shame, enchiladas, and the like (even authentic tacos if you ask). But the sweet treats on the menu are the steaks, and seafood. Steaks? You gotta see it to believe it. El Picante is besting the so-called steak places by leaps & bounds. Not that there are any steak places in Maineville but if the locals think they still have to drive to Fields Ertel or Mason to feast on fine beef they need to re-think that drive and look at the new joint in their home town. When you’re thinking shrimp or fish, forget about it, Roberto makes seafood magic in this kitchen.
The prices make you wonder where Roberto gets all the cash to fund these marvel Mexican restaurants he opens at his furious pace. The portions will be pleasing to regular folk as well as the large variety. Even the enormously rotund will find no reason to wish they had torn up a buffet. No one leaves hungry, though some may leave limping and in much need of a nap.
There is simply too much, that’s too good to go into detail on it all without writing an opus. You could eat here for a week straight and never get through half of one page of the menu. I would go as far to say Roberto has topped himself with this new Maineville location. I can’t wait to see what’s next. God knows this place is bound to be a cash cow. Just wait till’ the locals get wind of it, that breeze will be blowin’ green Roberto’s way for many a year to come.
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