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Ranch 616

tom in austin Nov 9, 2006 02:27 AM

Met friends out on Tuesday night. After a series of votes, we agreed on Ranch 616.

My wife and I shared the fried oysters, calamari, and pico. While all of the fried seafood bits were passable, they didn't by any means impress. They came with two creamy sauces (a cool green lime sauce and a punchy orange sauce) that were actually quite nice.

We both tried salads: the iceberg wedge and the mixed greens. They did their jobs. Nothing special.

They also brought us complimentary biscuits which were fantastic. Seriously, the best thing I had the entire night. Honey and butter were brought as well to garnish as we saw fit.

We shared a special: a grilled beef tenderloin with goat cheese mashed potatoes. The starches were great, actually. The beef was stringy and bland. It was not even close to a peer of the (very good!) cabernet we shared. It needed pepper. My wife didn't finish her portion; the couple we dined with ordered identically to us and neither of them could finish it either, despite how small the medallion of beef was. I'll now level a fairly harsh claim, and one I do not make lightly: I'm fairly certain this beef was not the cut advertised. It came with two pretty good fried shrimp. A friend got the quesadilla of the day (pulled pork); the bites I had were actually quite good.

The band that played was good, but far too loud for the small space. This is not the band's fault. They just do as asked, and play good Johnny Cash covers.

Our small party was auto-gratted, and the bill was ridiculous. We could have all gone to Uchi and then to San Jose for after-dinner wine on this bill. Sad.

Final analysis: This was probably the last time I'll ever go to this overrated, overpriced turd. I've been here about once a year since 2000, and have experienced a slow decline in food quality.
The food wasn't bad, but a fried chicken meal at Church's or Popeye's would have been better (and cost less than a tenth as much).

  1. Homero Feb 21, 2007 08:38 PM

    I haven't been in over a year, and I am sorry to hear that their food has gone downhill. The two times I had been previously, I loved their goat cheese mashers and fried asparagus, and I thought their fried oysters were great. They also had stiff margaritas. But both times that I ordered beef, it was tough, and didn't taste nearly good enough to justify the price.

    1. y
      yehudimenuhin Feb 21, 2007 08:06 AM

      Just to chime in,

      My dinner experiences are in line with the mostly negative comments above (expensive, loud bands, spotty entree quality) and I'd add that I don't really like the dessert options.

      On the other hand, I still go there from time to time because......

      I think their lunch menu is great (better prices, good sandwiches and burgers, fish tacos)
      Their margaritas are solid
      The biscuits are delightful and deadly fattening
      The quesadilla of the day is almost always excellent.

      1. Ken W Feb 21, 2007 07:33 AM

        I love this board. Some friends suggested going there this weekend, so I did a quick search and found this review. "This was probably the last time I'll ever go to this overrated, overpriced turd." Wow - hard to argue with that. Finding good food is what it's all about. Thanks Tom.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ken W
          tom in austin Feb 21, 2007 09:11 AM

          Glad to be of service!

        2. r
          RzburySwrl Nov 13, 2006 10:05 PM

          I used to adore Ranch 616 back in 2001 and 2002. Last time I went there fore New Year's 2006 with a big party -- my friend ordered her steak mid-rare and it came out overcooked TWICE. The third time it was still a little overdone, but everyone else had pretty much finished eating so she didn't complain. Not a great experience.

          They do still make great martinis, though.

          1. s
            SLadd Nov 9, 2006 11:12 PM

            I have been several times with high hopes and leave each time not impressed and...with the large bill...it is a cool, nifty place with promise...but just really does not deliver

            1. y
              yimay Nov 9, 2006 03:36 AM

              i used to love 616 for lunch back in the day when we worked at that place. i think shannon and i went there like once every few weeks. i've only been back there twice since those days and i've only eaten there once for dinner where i had the pork tenderloin which was divine, but cost an arm and a leg. i've never had their fried items. sorry to hear it is going downhill. and sorry i voted for it and didn't show up.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yimay
                tom in austin Nov 9, 2006 03:40 AM

                Out of nostalgic memories of tasty snacks, I voted for it as well. I was wrong. I will agree that they seem to know what to do with pork; if fate finds me there again, I will surely order that way.

              2. Kent Wang Nov 9, 2006 03:07 AM

                Their fried frog legs suck. Who fries frog legs anyway? The meat doesn't have much flavor so you need to saute or grill them.

                Funny that Austin Chronicle lists them as a wild game restaurant. For the frogs and venison? Hudson's is wild game, Ranch 616 is not.

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