Sunday, October 12, 2008

El Rancho Grande

As un mariachi once sang, "alla en el rancho grande, alla donde vivia, habia una rancherita, que alegra me decia." In English this means, "go to El Rancho Grande, that's where I live, in the small room in the back, under the stairs." Freddie Fender and Roger Creager have similar stories (check a lyrics website).

So, like my parents taught me, I obeyed the random mariachi and went to El Rancho Grande (spanish for "The Ranch Big"). Mi esposa y yo decided to check out The Ranch Big on a recent Friday evening. As many of you may remember, I'm somewhat of a fan of its neighbor, El Asadero (spanish for "the Asadero"). So I had low expectations for The Ranch Big. I'm happy to say that it easily surpassed that low bar.

I'll start with the chips and salsa because it was probably my favorite part of the meal. If you like the greasy nature of Mexican Inn chips, you'll like these. They're greasy but regular sized. They're also thin and crispy. The salsa is also very good and has un piquito spice. It works well with a Bohemia (is there a way to get paid for plugs like that?).

Mi esposa had the fajita nachos and they were good. If you haven't had fajita nachos and need a description... stop reading this blog.

Just kidding. I really need the attention of hits.

I ordered the comida de los perros. Others call it Carne Guisada, but I'll admit, they look similar. Just recently I became a fan of comida de los perros. When it is spicy, a couple chunks of that tender meat on a soft corn tortilla is pure heaven. When its not spicy, you can add some hot sauce and it can still be good. When its not tender though, you might as well eat dog food. The guisada was tender here. So I ate it. My only complaint was that it was a little bland. It was actually too bland to be fixed with the hot sauce. Plus, the beans were a bit bland.

However, I must admit that Carne Guisada is not the best test dish for a new Mexican restaurant. I'm a strong believer that beef enchiladas with the restaurant's chili/red sauce, rice and beans are the perfect test. The reason being is that you can always trust beef enchiladas and if a restaurant can't make them, it can't make anything. You should always trust a place before eating Carne Guisada because "carne" does not mean "beef". Always remember that.

Anyways, the Carne Guisada sufficed but I would probably not order it again at The Ranch Big.

What did set this place apart from all others was the service. Our waiter was attentive, caring and ridiculously happy. I used to work at a Mexican restaurant and even when I was stealing food, I was never as happy as this guy was, just serving us. Of course, I can understand. Its probably quite an honor to serve an anonymous blogger who has nothing of substance to say.

All in all, I'd eat at El Asadero if somebody gave me the choice, or if I was near it, or if it was open and I thought about it randomly, or after I had finished eating at The Ranch Big. But if a group of people wanted to go The Ranch Big, I wouldn't complain. The food is decent, the service is great and the carne appeared to be beef.

The Ranch Big is located on Main Street, just south of Awesome (El Asadero) and has cops there on Friday nights. I don't know why that last part is important, but it probably is.

Let me know if you agree/disagree.

El Rancho Grande Restaurante on Urbanspoon


Michael Bourgon said...

The food I've had there was decent, IMHO probably on par with El Asadero - but I've never been amazingly impressed the way others are. (I'd rather eat at Mi Cocinita, Esperanza's, El Pollo Palenque...).

One thing of note - a friend of mine has eaten there for over a decade now, and for years said they had the best Chile Relleno in town. Don't know if that's still the case, but I expect it is.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

A good chili relleno is worth a return visit.

I'm glad Fort Worth doesn't have one favorite mexican restaurant (besides Joe T's and thats a whole other issue). That means we've got lots of good options.

Anonymous said...

It's Roger.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

I'm assuming anonymous is Roger Creager. I have previously claimed that I am a huge Roger Creager fan and then I go and call him Robert (I edited it to fix the problem).

Roger, I'm really sorry. I know you read this blog every day and that probably greatly offended you.

Kristine said...

I have to agree that the highlight at El Rancho Grande is their chips. The rest of the food I've tried there so far has been the run-of-the-mill Tex Mex.

Mitchell said...

I LOVE this blog. Too funny! Totally agree with the El Rancho Grande post!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Mitchell, thanks for reading.

I think this is one of the few mexican restaurants I've reviewed that most of the readers agree with.

Unusual for Fort Worth.

Mr. Jose said...

I also wrote about El Rancho Grande recently. I think we got the same outstanding waiter. He truly was happy - and very proud to work there. Says a lot about him and their management.

Agree with pretty much everything else you said about the place. I was disturbed that they put the taco on the combo plate, one of my pet peeves. I got over it.

To be honest, though I like El Rancho Grande OK enough, I would much rather go one more block north and try Los Alamos. Great chips and salsa(s), entrees and definitely more "hole in the wall". I think they're open for dinner, but it's more of a breakfast/lunch type place. I wrote about them as well if curious.

I Am Nacho Mama said...

My family and I have been going to El Rancho Grande for years. I love the cheese sauce.

Looks like I need to get out more often and try El Asadero.

I guess that means El Rancho Notso Grande.

Anonymous said...

Ewww. I have to disagree with you on this one. Respectfully, of course.

A coworker took me out to lunch there once for my birthday, and I didn't care for it. The food was unremarkable.

But I am the daughter of a Mexican woman who cooks the most amazing authentic Mexican dishes. I guess my expectations are just too high. :) And I've never been a big fan of Tex-Mex.


FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Angie, Angie, Angie... All critique and no suggestions??? Where would you rather go? I love authentic mexican food. Have you got some good recommendations?

Anonymous said...

Do not go to the Original unless you enjoy paying $11 for an enchilada dinner.