Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The moment I heard about El Ranchito, I wrote it on my list of restaurants to try in the city. Mexican may be my favorite genre of cuisine. I blame a childhood spent in southern California where I was spoiled by fresh fish tacos and insanely good burritos at Lalo's. And while arguments abound about the best taqueria in Philly, I was happy to hear of another establishment opening up in Fishtown at 2nd and Master.
Alison and I were starving at a relatively early hour and headed to El Ranchito last Wednesday. We both agreed their chips were awesome. Clearly homemade, the chips were light but with a rich corn flavor. If you look closely at the photo you can can actually see the granules of salt sticking to the slightly oily chips. Fantastic.
I'm a firm believer that a simple dish can make a restaurant. For Mexican places, that dish is guacamole. If they screw guacamole up, then why even bother? Unfortunately, on this day, El Ranchito was out of guacamole. Alison and I hypothesized it might have something to do with the outrageous price of avocados which is directly correlated to the wild fires out west this season. Hopefully by my next visit, the guacamole will be back. To substitute we ordered the bean dip which came out hot and sprinkled with cotija cheese. It had a slightly spicy kick, and maintained good textural contrast between the mushed up beans and some whole ones.
Alison ordered the steak quesadilla which came with a little salad on the side, as well as lime wedges to squeeze over the whole dish.
I ordered the Carnitas grilled burrito, which was stuffed with roasted pork, rice, cheese, and beans and covered with more cheese and sour cream. The carnitas was rocking. It was everything slow roasted pork is supposed to be, tender, moist and flavorful.
All this food, plus two sodas only set us back $13.98, a definite steal.
Their take-out menu is extensive and specifies they deliver as well. At the moment, however, they've yet to hire a delivery driver, so give them a few weeks before trying to enjoy a Mexican fiesta at home.
2nd and Master
Philadelphia, PA 19122