Review: Senor Roy’s Taco Patrol

Finally, I’ve managed to catch up with the roving band of trucks serving up all sorts of delicious things around the city. And I do mean around the city– rarely do they venture outside the confines of Clifton, Over-the-Rhine or the Central Business District.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered Cafe de Wheels outside of Mica 12/v… right after I’ve eaten.  Or they’ve ran out of food.  Or, they’re just too far away.  Yesterday, I saw this tweet from @SenorRoys:

Kenwood? That’s close to me.  Do I have a lunch meeting?  Nope!  So I got in the car and drove down to Kenwood to catch up with the Taco Patrol.  The thing that’s tricky about these trucks is they essentially have to be invited someplace, or else they get kicked out, which can make them a bit hard to find.  First they were in Barnes and Noble’s parking lot, then they moved to the corner of Kenwood and Montgomery, then finally– when I’d nearly given up– they were in a parking lot across from St. Vivian’s.

I’ve read some other reviews of this place, and they’ve ranged from adoring to disappointed.   I tried not to get too excited– fearing the worst– but came out with what I would consider a satisfactory lunch experience, and much improved from either Gavin’s or Liz’s experiences.

The menu is essentially a Chipotle on wheels.  They have some interesting toppings for your tacos or burritos– pickled onions, cotija and chihuahua cheese come to mind– but if you’ve had Chipotle, this is very similar, but local and on wheels.  I am not sure if they do any local or organic sourcing.

 The process: you start on one end of the cart, and choose your poison: burrito, tacos, salad, and a couple of other choices.  I chose the Lunch Special– 3 tacos (which I had no intention of finishing, but wanted to try all three meats), chips, salsa and a drink for $7.95.   Initially, they asked if I wanted beans and rice, which I assumed to be on the side.  When they started filling the tortillas with it, I stopped them and said that I assumed it would be on the side.  They happily took out the rice.  I chose corn tortillas, and one each of the meats: steak, chicken, and al pastor– pork cooked in a pineapple sauce.   When you pay, you get to choose the toppings– for mine, I chose cotija cheese (a crumbly, salty Mexican cheese, not unlike feta), cilantro and some pickled red onions.   I took the chips and salsa too– tomatillo salsa was my choice.   For $8, this was a veritable ton of food– there was no way I could finish it, but I could, at least, take a few bites in the interest of the readers, right?  Sure.

My favorite, by a landslide, was the al pastor taco.  It was nicely seasoned, spicy and a little sweet, with some nice chunks of pineapple along with the pork.  It was topped with a spicy-sweet red sauce.  It combined well with my toppings of cotija, cilantro and red onion.  Authentic? Maybe not.  Delicious?  Absolutely.   I can’t say the same of the steak tacos, which I found dry and somewhat flavorless.  The chicken came out in the middle– it was moist, almost dripping, but not as well seasoned as I’d liked.  In the future, I’ll stick with the al pastor tacos and skip the rest.

You can get their (no-very-often-updated) schedule on their website, or follow them on Twitter to find their latest location.

Señor Roy's Taco Patrol (Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

  • http://willflyforfoodblog.com Christina Baita

    Sounds like fun. Hunt for your lunch like caveman days. At least you didn’t have to kill it too!
    How do you rate it to La Mexicana in Newport (Monmouth St)?
    .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Too Tired Sunday =-.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      I still prefer La Mexicana, but Senor Roy’s are good. They’re different– more Americanized, but that can be OK.

  • http://willflyforfoodblog.com Christina Baita

    Figured as much. It’s hard to beat a place where the cook barely speaks English! I have been eating one pork, one mushroom and one vegetarian (or parts there of if I don’t want to be sick). So yummy!
    .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Too Tired Sunday =-.

  • Martin Quinn

    I’m wondering why you say things like: ‘(which I had no intention of finishing, but wanted to try all three meats)’ & ‘there was no way I could finish it, but I could, at least, take a few bites in the interest of the readers, right?’ You do this in quite a few of your posting.

    It seems like you are apologizing for having an appetite.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Women aren’t supposed to like to eat, remember? :)

      Seriously, though– the portions here are huge, which was the point I was going for. The lunch “special” is 3 tacos, chips and salsa– I think I could have easily split the special with a friend!

  • Jenny Ford

    I’m more bothered by how a review can read so negatively throughout, yet in the end, you can somehow conclude you had an okay lunch. What a jolt for the reader!

    Rarely do they come out of the city. I have to find them. They don’t update their schedule enough. They tried to put rice on my taco. Waa waa waa.

    With all that moaning maybe you need to at least bold the part where you say it was delicious. So easy to miss that.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      I don’t think the fact that they rarely leave the city or they have to be found are negative. It’s a taco truck, and their core audience is in the city. Nor is the mention of the rice negative– it’s not my preference, and you notice that I mentioned they gladly took it off.

      It’s a review– and it was not an absolutely picture-perfect experience, but much of the food was good (which I mentioned several times). Generally, one would want to read all of it to take away the opinion of the writer, not just a soundbite, correct?

      • http://willflyforfoodblog.com Christina Baita

        @Jenny Ford ~ Did you read the review? Just asking?
        .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Airline Drink Choice =-.

  • http://www.amateurfoodies.blogspot.com Gavin DeVore Leonard

    I’ll have to go back again and give it another try. I agree that (United States of) Americanized doesn’t have to be a bad thing. When they started putting rice and beans in mine, I asked about that and they said it was traditional to do that in Mexico. I wasn’t in the mood to discuss it, so just went with the flow. Next time I’ll definitely ask for them on the side. Glad to hear your meat was good – I bet it’ll be a better experience for me next time…
    .-= Gavin DeVore Leonard´s last blog ..Dinner Out @ Riverside Korean =-.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      I had them hold the rice and beans period– I rarely eat them. Stick with the pork or chicken (but the pork is truly the best, imo).

  • vudutu

    Cincinnati is always late to the party, “insert overused Mark Twain quote here”. LA has the coolest trucks, something like 1400 of them I heard, asian influence is big, selfabsorbent twitter was made for taco trucks, this one is Korean/Mex.
    http://kogibbq.com
    When I read this
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/187008
    last year I was drooling thinking about bringing one to town.
    Take a look at these photos and drool more
    http://www.lataco.com/taco/kogi-korean-bbq-taco-truck-los-angeles

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Yup, but the coasts will always be first. Glad they’re finally here– if a bit late.

  • Todd

    I keep thinking I’ll try Sr Roy’s but I end up at Cafe de Wheels. There burgers and sweet potato fries are tops… always delicious…

    cheers,
    Todd

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Oh, Cafe de Wheels… that’s tomorrow. :)

  • http://healthyeatingrecipe.blogspot.com/ Healthy Eating Recipe

    Oh my god. I just had my lunch break and you made me hungry again. I am so going against the title of my blog here. But you did say your tacos had pineapples right?
    .-= Healthy Eating Recipe´s last blog ..Ceasar Salad: A Healthier Take On A Classic Recipe =-.

  • http://willflyforfoodblog.com Christina Baita

    Okay, now I am hungry sitting in a hotel room in San Antonio. I could of course go downstairs to the restaurant but have been told by more than one flight attendant that the food is bad. Suppose that’s just their opinion but do I chance eating at an overpriced hotel restaurant that may or may not be good? I was going to go to bed soon (4am wake up call) but now all I can think about is pork tacos and hamburgers! Thanks alot! ;) Other food choices are between me and a really big highway.

    Can’t wait to take my Mom to Cafe de Wheels (she’s not a big “Mexican” food person) but we always love a good burger! mmmm
    .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Airline Drink Choice =-.

  • Seagal

    I was lucky enough to catch up with Senor Roys on Tuesday. I had not read your review yet and did not notice that they put the rice and beans on my tacos. It did take away from the flavor and I think it added a need for some salt. I went with crema, cilantro and the pickled jalapenos and carrots (which I eat by the can full).

    I agree the pork was best. I ordered queso and chips and apparently was not my day for paying attention, or I would have asked them to put the queso on the side instead of on top of the chips.

    I was very pleased with their friendliness. I really enjoyed the food, even if I was sitting on upper 12th street and ended up dripping salsa all over my pants (which forced me to go home and change).

  • vudutu

    LOL, finding said trucks seems to be an issue, would love to try Senor Roy’s but a visit to their web reveals a little problem, you can’t eat food you cant find. Looks like the notorious Sales Prevention Committee was in charge of the web site design. I don’t do the self absorbent Twitter (I have enough fricking distractions) they kind of need to let you know where they are if your going to BUY anything.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Twitter’s gone beyond self-absorbed to being a method for broadcasting information. Just go to their twitter feed and you can see their location– it’s pretty easy. And you don’t even have to sign up.

    • vudutu

      Humm Twitter feed on their site is working today but they are in Clifton so no taco today!

  • CincyCapell

    I need to hunt these trucks down!

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Yup! Worth any effort you may expend.

  • Eric

    Just (re)discovered your site, Julie, when I was searching for Tacos al Pastor, one of my favorite foods. I discovered it last year on a family trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, at a wonderful place called “Aca Los Tacos”. If you are ever there, I *highly* recommend you give that place a try. We were in Playa for a week and it was the best place we ate by far. The next time I am in Cincinnati, I am going to have to hunt down Senor Roy’s! Thanks! –Eric

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Hey Eric! Terry and I have been talking about vacationing in Mexico sometime soon. If we end up in Playa del Carmen (which I hear wonderful things about), I’ll try Aca!