For my entire tenure on Earth, 36 years, I have loved sports. In those years, I have only lived in Illinois (32 years) and Iowa (4 years). All of my favorite sports teams come from those two states….with the exception of one. I am a Bengals fan. I admit it. No, not the Bangles, the 80’s girly band led by the red-hot Susanna Hoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals. The football team. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve suffered through some horrific seasons.
With that said, I’ve been on an island with my team. My parents, sisters and some friends in Cincinnati are Bengals fans, but most of the time I root on my terrible team, it’s by myself. If I ever see somebody in public wearing a Bengals hat or shirt, I always talk to them, or give ‘em a “Who Dey!”. Of course they think I’m a weirdo, but it’s just so rare to see for me.
I try to go to at least one game in Cincinnati each year. When I get there, it seems very odd to me that there are so many people wearing Bengals stuff, talking about the Bengals, seeing Bengals gear in stores and having the Bengals be a focal point on the news. It’s almost like I’m lost, or over-stimulated, when I’m surrounded by Bengals fans.
So, on my most recent trip to see the Bengals play in Cincinnati, what did I do to make myself feel more at home? That’s right, I found a taco spot.
Right between Paul Brown Stadium and The Great American Ballpark, lies a touristy brand spankin’ new strip called The Banks. Jefferson Social is one of those brand spankin’ new types of taco joints. So, my dad, sister and brother-in-law decided to give it a try.
I think the build-up, sorta like my intro, was a little much, though. Don’t get me wrong, Jefferson Social is a very good taco spot. It’s just not, THE taco spot. It’s the kind of place you go with your family when you’re in town for the game. It’s not the type of place many of the local Queen City inhabitants frequent…or Covington weirdos for that matter.
I had the chicken, barbacoa and fish tacos. They all are topped with fancy-pants ingredients, and look really exotic, so they can charge you a little bit more. Plus, you’re from out of town. You’ll pay it.
The chicken taco is a really tasty taco. It is made with chicken thighs, which is a great idea because they are cheaper and juicier. It is topped with black bean and corn salsa, along with cojita cheese. Nope, not queso. Cheese. It’s also the prettiest taco. The toppings are fine, but the thighs are what do it for me (insert inappropriate joke here).
The barbacoa is good too, but the meat isn’t quite as juicy, even thought the taco is runny. Crazy, I know. It is topped with pico de gallo and cojita cheese. I think the meat is stewed too quickly, because it isn’t’t as tender as I think it should be. Still, a good taco.
Then, I tried the fish taco. This is my favorite. It is stuffed with two giant chunks of beer-battered cod. I normally don’t like too much batter on my fish taco, but these pieces are so big, you still get plenty of fish with your crunchy crust. I like that you can really taste the fish. It isn’t just the thought of eating fish, like on a lot of other fish tacos. It is topped with cabbage and, in my opinion, too much remoulade on top. Oh, well, nothing can be perfect.
One side note: I’m pretty sure the cheese they use is cotija cheese, but it said cojita cheese three times on the menu, so I just went with their spelling.
Ok, I’ll stop rambling….on to the next stop!
- Location: 101 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH (The Banks)
- Tourists: Josh, Dave, Heather, Darin
- Tacos sampled: chicken, barbacoa, fish (also have carnitas, roasted vegetable, and social supreme)
- Toppings: varies per taco
- Salsa: mango habenero and salsa verde
- Extras: none
- Tortillas: flour (except the social supreme; hard corn)
- Atmosphere: touristy, white, river, tourists, not Mexican
- Price: $3.50-$4.00/taco
- OVERALL RATING: 7.5