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El Ranchito

j
J.R. Aug 23, 2009 06:52 AM

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?

  1. j
    jindomommy Sep 10, 2009 10:27 AM

    I love the seafood and sweetbreads at El Ranchito. Gonzalez is great, but it's really heavy. Probably because each tortilla is 3 oz. El Ranchito and Gonzalez are completely different. Also, El Ranchito always has goat on the menu.

    1. d
      dfwtexex Sep 10, 2009 08:39 AM

      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.

      1. j
        J.R. Sep 9, 2009 10:40 AM

        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.
          f
          Franklyn Sep 9, 2009 12:38 PM

          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
            twinwillow Sep 9, 2009 04:05 PM

            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
              t
              txram Sep 10, 2009 08:21 AM

              I second the salsa fresca at Gonzalez.

              1. re: twinwillow
                j
                J.R. Sep 10, 2009 08:26 AM

                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. twinwillow Aug 24, 2009 10:46 PM

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

            1. l
              luniz Aug 24, 2009 08:29 AM

              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: luniz
                j
                J.R. Aug 24, 2009 12:46 PM

                What to get at Lito's?

                1. re: J.R.
                  g
                  gavlist Aug 24, 2009 01:41 PM

                  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.
                    amokscience Aug 24, 2009 09:11 PM

                    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. twinwillow Aug 23, 2009 11:23 PM

                  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
                    j
                    J.R. Aug 24, 2009 06:02 AM

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

                    1. re: J.R.
                      twinwillow Aug 24, 2009 10:44 PM

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

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