Review: Ranch House Grille - Phoenix (w/ photos!)
If I had one wish for the Arcadia district in Phoenix, it would be that more independent breakfast places were open. I would even be satisfied with a diner experience that served hot, satisfying breakfasts that didn’t break the bank and didn’t remind me of Denny’s or IHOP.
I will admit, however, that my wish is somewhat selfish because I don’t eat breakfast that often, and when I do, it is usually part of a brunch visit (because the chances of finding me anywhere other than asleep on a Saturday at 7 AM is zero). But when I do venture out to satisfy my craving for bacon and eggs, I want it to be great.
Madge and Boris suggested we head out for brunch and we tried our best to come up with a place that satisfied my requirements. After some discussion, I suggested the Ranch House Grill near the intersection of 56th Street and Thomas Road in East Phoenix. Several people had recommended Ranch House Grill and said the place was inexpensive, friendly, and had great meals.
We almost missed the place as it resided in a quaint but pretty strip mall adjacent to the northeast corner of the intersection. Slamming on the brakes, I was able to maneuver into the small parking lot and got a spot right in front of the restaurant. Madge’s hair, thankfully, survived the g-forces that I imposed upon it.
Walking into the restaurant, we all noted how charming the place was inside. There were plenty of tables and county/Americana touches decorated the place. A woman running the register asked us to wait a moment and she would seat us. We were then taken to a table for four near the center of the restaurant and handed menus.
As we surveyed the menus, our waitress arrived and took our drink order. Madge and I had Diet Cokes ($1.50 each) while Boris has an Iced Tea ($1.50). She headed to the back to the kitchen and returned shortly with our drinks. I was very happy because the glasses were huge tumblers filled without beverages of choice.
She then asked if we were ready for to order and we had decided. I couldn’t resist the description of the Huevos Rancheros ($7.50). Madge selected the Lumberjack Breakfast ($7.75) but substituted Biscuits and Gravy for the toast ($0.50 add on) and also asked for some cheese on the scrambled eggs ($0.50). Boris wanted the Sausage and Cheese Omelette ($7.25) also with the Biscuits and Gravy.
After our waitress had departed, we talked about the menu because we loved the fact that this would be perfect for brunch due to the mixture of breakfast and lunch items. I noted that I was intrigued by the menu listing for the Chicken Fried Steak covered with Green Chile Verde. Madge loved the setting and found it comfortable. “I wish there were more places like this in town,” she stated.
After a 15 minutes wait, our meals started arriving. Madge’s Lumberjack breakfast was colossal. The plate was a plastic platter and covered with plenty of breakfast food: two eggs, two links of sausage, two strips of bacon, and a slab of ham. Madge said everything on the plate was excellent which I surmised since she inhaled the bacon before I could get a photo. The eggs were light and fluffy and thickly covered with Cheddar cheese. She had no complaints about the platter at all.
Madge then tackled the Biscuits and Gravy. Right off the bat, Madge mentioned that the two components were great together, but separately, they were pretty mediocre. I tried a bit of the biscuit and she was correct. The biscuits alone were pretty lackluster. I also took a taste of the gravy and found it to be a bit on the salty side, but was pleased with the peppery kick. But when I tried a bite of the gravy on the biscuit, I was very pleased. The whole truly was greater than the sum of the parts. We all agreed that the Biscuits and Gravy were very good if you had them together, otherwise, we would have not ordered either individual item.
Boris’ Sausage and Cheese Omelette was also quite large. The egg dish was served with a side of hash browns. Boris said the omelette was perfectly cooked, but he would have preferred a bit more sausage. Still, he wasn’t unhappy with his selection in the slightest. He did agree with Madge’s assessment of the Biscuits and Gravy, although he, too, gobbled them up.
My Huevos Rancheros was, like the rest of the meals, gigantic. The plate was filled with fluffy scrambled eggs, Pork Chile Verde sauce, hash browns, rice, beans and even more Pork Chile Verde sauce all served on thin corn tortilla. My first bite was excellent. The eggs were not overcooked and the chile verde was exceptional and fiery hot. I was very happy. The rice and beans were decent and a pleasant addition to the meal. Even they had a bit of a spicy kick to them which I found refreshing. What really made the platter was the hash browns. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but what made them shine was the scoop of chile verde that had been ladled on top of them before the rice had been piled on top of that. It was heaven. Then again, the entire plate was really grand.
After all but licking our plates clean, we requested our bill and the total was a paltry ($30.87) which included tax. It was an incredible deal for the amount of food we had. The service was friendly and engaging, but we did have to flag our waitress down a time or two to get refills on the drinks. Still, we had already pledged to come back and departed with a smile on our faces and abated hunger.
Driving back home, Madge and Boris expressed great relief that they had finally found a wonderful place to have a great breakfast, brunch or lunch. I heartily agreed.
If only there were more of these places in Arcadia and around the Valley.
Ranch House Grill
5618 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Hours: Sunday through Saturday – 6 AM to 3 PM
Notes: Outdoor seating available. Additional parking available at side and rear of building.
Additional photos can be seen at www.feastinginphoenix.com
Ranch House Grille
5618 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018
Ranch House Grille has reopened (with new furniture). The food seems the same. I had the Southwest chicken fried steak and eggs.
Ranch House Grille is one of my favorites. I find myself there for breakfast more often than just about anywhere else in town. That green chile covered chicken fried steak is pure carnivore bliss. I do agree about their biscuits; I know they've tried a couple of recipes, but biscuits just take a certain touch, and the cooks there don't have it. They end up coming out like reheated store-bought biscuits.
I was at the Ranch House Grill around Christmas, and they were selling tamales. They were described as a South American style, banana leaf type, that was twice as big as the usual. I really wish I would have bought a dozen, they sounded great. I got the impression that they weren't selling all that well. Maybe next year, I reserve some room for them.
All of its good, but you missed out on the best of all... THE SPICY TORTILLA!
I say we have a day where we revive all of Seth's reviews in his honor. There is no one here more passionate about his dining experiences. Get Nikki outta the Phoenix Magazine and give the job to him!