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Aug 23, 2009 06:52 AM

El Ranchito

Ok, I've been there twice now and found it to be just OK. Had Carne Asada once and had the sweetbreads last night proceeded by queso flamido. I used to spend alot of time in Monterrey and N. Mexico on business and feel I have a pretty good understanding of that type of Northern cooking, which El Ranch tries to emulate. Yes, the corn tortillas were homemade, but just ok IMO. What am I missing? Am I ordering wrong?

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  1. What your missing, is the right Mexican restaurant. Next time, try Gonzalez Restaurant just down the street on the opposite side. Next to the old telephone building.

    2 Replies
    1. re: twinwillow

      I've got Gonzales and Lapalapa Veracrazana on my list next. Will report back.

      1. re: J.R.

        Better hurry to La Palapa Veracruzana. Rumors of their eminent demise are circling around like buzzards over dead meat.

    2. I think Bill Addison used to love the more tex mex oriented dishes there. I agree the corn tortillas are good but not the greatest. I don't really have a point of comparison and as far as I know it's the only place in town to get mollejas. If I go back and can bring some people, I'd get the goat, but it's not really a destination place for me. I'd rather go to Litos. I just bring up the mollejas often because I think fajitas are overrated and I'd rather be eating offal.

      3 Replies
        1. re: J.R.

          Pretty much everything is good. My favorites are:

          mole verde - pork cooked in a green mole, the likes of which I have not seen elsewhere in dallas. And of course, get corn tortillas with it, which are handmade

          gorditas (or whatever) with chicharron prensado - remarkably meaty chicharron in a red chile sauce

          chile relleno - a poblano baked or grilled (not battered and fried) stuffed with queso fresco served in a delicious fresh tomato sauce

          tamales (friday, saturday and sunday only). All are good, but probably my favorite is the rajas (poblano + queso fresco).

          the chips and table salsa are fantastic as well. The chips are fresh fried from handmade tortillas - so they have a satisfying toothiness underlying the crunch. The salsa is poblano-based, with lots of roasted green chile flavor, although it still manages to pack some heat.

          Everything else that I've tried is at least pretty good. Be careful of the beef dish, cooked in a red chile sauce - delicious, but surprisingly spicy.

          1. re: J.R.

            I echo pretty much everything gav said.

            Lito's has a fairly small menu and is cheap. You could sample half a dozen things in one meal fairly easily. I've had about half the menu and the only thing I don't like is the cheese chile relleno (just my thing, don't like huge chunks of cheese).

            Sopas were alright, tamales are great, the gorditas are great (but eat them quick before they fall apart), and the chicharron prensado and mole verde are very tasty. The corn tortillas are usually handmade and I love the salsa they serve with the tortilla chips.

            I've had the tamales on a Tues but their selection varies. They have weekend specials which I haven't been able to try yet. I think they're closed on Wednesday.

        2. I'm addicted to the guisado puerco (pork stew) at Gonzalez.

          1. Ok, per my earlier commitment, I had a meeting that was close, so I dropped by Lito's for lunch only to find that the were closed on Wed... Ok, on to Gonzalez. I liked it. The chips and salsa were ok. Pre-fab chips and a redish-yellow salsa served warm that was very spicy. In stead of opting for on of the typical tex-mex lunch specials, I opted for Camarones Ranchero. Now, that was tasty. Served with rice and a salad. I'm not and expert on Ranchero sauce, but I've had plenty in my day. This one was very fresh, spicy and still had texture of the chiles, onions, ect. It was real spicy, but is was as good as I've ever had and the shrimp was fresh and not over cooked. Those leavened flour tortillas were a little fluffy and pancake tasting for me. Overall. I likey. On to Lito's next.

            4 Replies
            1. re: J.R.

              If you find yourself at Gonzales again, forgo the standard salsa, which not great, and ask for salsa fresca. It's free and it's delicious.

              1. re: Franklyn

                Absolutely! The salsa fresca is the way to go at Gonzalez. But, you have to ask for it! The "chips" are somewhat ordinary mainly because they really don't eat "chips and salsa" in Mexico.
                Kind of like, not getting olive oil to dip your bread in Italy. They laugh at Americans who request it. Same go's for the big pepper mill and parmesan cheese.

                1. re: twinwillow

                  I second the salsa fresca at Gonzalez.

                  1. re: twinwillow

                    Agreed on not much chips and salsa in Mexico, but I found Gonzales to be pretty straight forward Tex-Mex! Will do the salsa fresca next time along with the Pork Guisado.

              2. I don't think the food is extraordinary, but the Nuevo Leon style grilled meats are somewhat comfort food to me. With the mariachis and a cold beer, we go to El Ranchito for the overall experience of the night and enjoy it every time. There are terrific places all along Jefferson, but most have no atmosphere at all, except for maybe loud ranchero music being piped in.