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Prov RI Horn Toot: El Rancho Grande

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I just wanted to let everyone in the area know they should go try a meal at El Rancho Grande in Providence. I know mexican food is a very personal thing and everyone has their favorite place for certain dishes etc, but this place comes out on top for total package. Just my quick 2 cents on why this place whips the mules butt with a belt...

1. Free chips and really good fresh salsa.
2. Cheap
3. Breakfast!!!! (haven't tried it yet but very soon)
4. 7 days a week
5. They take plastic
6. Everything I have tried so far has been excellent
7. Breakfast!!!! (I know It's listed already but come on!! Best meal of the day... Mexican style)

The Carne Asada super burrito is one of my favs. Very simple contents which let you taste just how good the meat in it is. I took my son here for lunch the other day and we had Enchiladas Mole (3 chicken, comes with side of rice and beans) and 2 chicken tacos for a whopping $11. Proper.

Support the goodness!!

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree. The best mexican around. I'd like to add three more reasons to your list though:

    #8. Liquor license!
    #9 Sangria! (this sort of goes w/ #8 but there's is so yummy I though it deserved its own mention)
    #10 Kid friendly! (I know this isn't important to everyone but for those who it is, it's real important)

    1 Reply
    1. re: dagwood

      right on!

    2. NIIIICE. Where is it? Link to website?

      2 Replies
      1. re: srdill

        http://www.elranchogranderestaurant.com/

        311 Plainfield St.

        1. re: bucketfoodsnob

          OMG, this is right near my office. Awesome! Thanks.

      2. Thanks for the tip! I am eager to go for all of the reasons listed here and below.

        1. I have to add a #11 - the mole. It's so good and, like everything else there, homemade.

          1. Speaking of, is anyone going to their wine class on Sunday? I'll be there...try to guess who I am and say hi :)

            Here's the writeup:

            Last month's cooking class sold out and we expect this will do the same. Please join us on Sunday, April 13th from 3-5PM for a fun and educational afternoon as we blind taste 6 wines in 3 flights. These wines will then be paired with a specially prepared 3-course meal (not on the regular menu) by Maria: Jalapenos Rellenos de Atun, Camarones Adobados, and Crepas de Guayaba. Translation = Jalapeno peppers stuffed with seasoned Tuna, Shrimp in a rich traditional Adobado sauce, and sweet Guava filled Mexican-styled crepes with vanilla ice cream).

            Learn the language of wine in a friendly, relaxed environment and meet others with similar interests. All levels of wine knowledge are welcome.

            $45 per person.
            Limited Seating. Reservations & Prepayment Required.
            Call 401-275-0808. Ask for Maria.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cajuntoast

              Hi. I was thinking of doing that myself. I'll see if I can still get a reservation. (I'd be going by myself; is that going to feel awkward or does everyone sit together and talk with one another?)

              1. re: ccferg

                I made the reservation this afternoon (Saturday) and it sounds like there are still some openings. I think it sounds like fun -- plus good food and wine. I think we'll all be part of a group, but if I'm sitting at a table by myself, please introduce yourself.

            2. We had another yummy meal here last Sunday, but I wish the service were better.

              It gets annoying to have to flag down the server for things that should be plentiful, like salsa and tortillas. How am I supposed to eat my meal without these things?

              I also wish they provided real salsa (and not pico de gallo) for tacos and the like. I actually saw one dude with a bottle of Valentino...that's for popcorn, not dinner!

              2 Replies
              1. re: GabachaYucateca

                Wow, I could not disagree more! (And I say that with genuine respect for the contrary opinion of a fellow Chowhound.) I have been twice and both times found the service incredibly kind, professional and capable. In fact, I remarked on it each time I went.

                That said I do agree with your comment on the salsa, but when I requested some I instantly received a dish of wonderfully tart salsa verde, so I don't hold it against them too much.

                1. re: celeriac

                  I love this place, and love the salsa as it is!
                  I find the service to be consistently gracious, very friendly and kind. I have never wanted for anything on any of my visits.

              2. I really like El Rancho Grande but love you might want to check out Taqueria Pacifica. It's a completely different vibe. Great California Mexican in a cool space

                1. OK so I FINALLY made it to El Rancho Grande and brought 3 people. We loved it!! I had the mole poblano and it was amazing. The sangria was to die for. Maria ended up coming out to greet everyone as the place was closing down and she apologized for not coming out sooner, as it was a busy night. We had no issues with the service whatsoever, they brought out more chips and salsa for us quite a few times.
                  Also - between the four of us, we had an appetizer, 4 entrees, a beer, 2 pitchers of sangria, and 2 desserts....and it all came to $109. What a place!

                  1. Went there last night. Wow, it's good. I really liked the salsa (not the chips though). The entrees were delicious. I had a pork tamale and a carnitas burrito. I use pork tamales as the benchmark for comparing Mexican restaurants, and El Rancho Grande makes a good one. The sangria was nice and fruity without being overly tart or overly sweet.

                    I had a taste of the mole. It's better than any other version I've ever had. Although I like mole, I'm not an expert.

                    The service was friendly, but our waitress got off to a slow start, due to 4 or 5 tables all coming in at the same time. We were one of the last of those tables to leave and the waitress came over and talked to us for a bit before Maria, the owner and chef, came down to talk to us for a while. She told us that they're planning a Cinco de Mayo celebration on the Saturday before which is May 3 (May 5 is a Monday).

                    I anticipate spending many more hours there.

                    1. I went for lunch one day based on these posts and was very happy. I didn't expect it to be so cute & clean inside (and nice friendly service too). The pork tamales were very tasty, but identical to Mexico Garibaldi....the difference being MG takes them out of the wrapper and tops them w/2 white cheeses.....one a bit thinner than sour cream, the other white & crumbly (queso?).....so the end result is more flavorful than ERG.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JaneRI

                        Sounds like simple crema and queso fresco, both tasty!

                        Homeboy and I went back to Mexico Garibaldi this Saturday after a very long absence, and it was quite delicious! The place was jamming, but service was great.

                        At the risk of getting a verbal smackdown, I can't help but think that (especially because our experience of not getting great service at el rancho, which seems very different from other people's experiences) that El Rancho Grande is really trying to cater to the non-Spanish speaking crowd. This is just based on our perception of less than great service and the fact that I've noticed very, very few Spanish speakers in the place whenever we go. This is in direct contrast to Mexico Garibaldi, where there's a good mix of Latinos and non-Latinos.

                        Just an idea...

                        1. re: GabachaYucateca

                          I've wondered that out loud to my dining companions myself. In that vein, I'm struck by how the decor is extremely "safe" to the point of being dull. If the food weren't so good, it would turn me off more.

                          1. re: celeriac

                            Your comment made me wonder...is the vibe/clientele different on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they do the beer in the bucket special?

                            This makes me think of my experience at Maya Azteca...I had read about this place in the Phoenix or Pro Jo about how "authentic" and charming it was, and decided to check it out. All of the press and reviews came from before they moved locations (more into Silver Lake, I believe). It was entirely different from before, i guess, and now caters almost exclusively to the Latino crowd, 99% male. I got stared at in a way that I never have before, and it was really interesting.

                            Great food, though!

                      2. There's an article in the paper today about the family behind El Rancho Grande and how they got started. I'm not generally a fan of the Projo food writing, but I thought it was very sweet.

                        1. I tried to go there on May 3rd just to check it out.. but totally forgot that it was Cinco de Mayo weekend.. the place was packed and we didn't feel like waiting for an hour.. plus there was a mariachi band and the atmosphere just seemed too chaotic.. so we drove back to westminister and went to la lupita instead.. this place has "tacos" in neon signs.. the place was cafetaria style and we were the only non-spanish speaking crowd.. definitely a no frills kind of place.. btu the three of us were full and happy for only $15 total.. we each got beef tongue and tripe tacos, we shared some chicharones, a tamale, nachos, and grapefruit soda.

                          however, given the overall positive words to rancho grande, i will have to check it out. i just hope that it's not food catered to the hipster crowd