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).
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.
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.
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
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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.