El Rancho Grande
A chain that has expanded into over a dozen locations around Dayton and Cincinnati, El Rancho Grande brings a good, inexpensive option to the table. The simplicity of the dishes adds a great deal of appeal. The food is cheap, easy to recognize, and very tasty. El Rancho Grande enjoys a dressed-down environment and it’s clear business is steady here, especially during lunch. This is not surprising.
The food here is very tasty. Crispy chips and tart salsa begin the meal, as in so many other tex-mex places. The salsa especially is fresh and spicy.
- Chimichanga: A lunch special. Quick service was a plus, but more impressive, the crunchy tortilla was still sizzling.
- Quesadilla: These are a few different ways to try these, all of them pretty good. A basic quesadilla is browned perfectly and with a very cheesy inside.
- Grilled tilapia: Served up with blackened onions and with tortillas, this stuff is just perfect with veggies and a cold drink.
- Nachos: These come best with chicken and a light tomato sauce. Heavy on the cheese and beans. Very filling.
- Enchilada: Easily good with cheese and a little bit of sauce. The corn tortilla adds a lot, too.
- Burrito: Even for a simple burrito, this one is huge. Crammed with meat and plenty of cheese to make it rock.
- Tacos: These come highly customized. Crunchy shell, basic ingredients.
- Queso dip: This can be ordered to go with your chips and salsa. A little spicy! But still fantastic.
- Huevos Rancheros: The lovable breakfast dish of fried eggs atop a tortilla will leave you just full enough. Perfect with some queso cheese.
- Margarita: The original flavor is the main version to try, very cold and in a few sizes. It’s strong!
All of the food has a simple flavor, but freshness makes it all that much better. The tortillas have good flavor. The meat is cooked well. Everything tastes great, but I also have to admit it all did come off with a slightly bland flavor. Simplicity made for a good flavor as far as freshness is concerned, but I did find a blandness prevalent in all of the things I tried. A little more spice or even salt would give things a little more flavor. While I have to say such a lack of seasoning would be advantageous if the goal was a healthier dish, but in this instance I think it does more harm than good.
They have a number of specials and coupons out at any one time. Despite being there in the middle of the lunch rush hour, we were surprised to find out food come very quickly, hot out of the kitchen. It said something very good about the servers to push things though the kitchen so quickly, and to allow me to have a very fresh experience in the middle of the busiest rush of the day.
The aforementioned experience speaks a lot about the good service here, but I have to further complement the constant attention I receive here. It’s consistent; you’ll get your order taken quickly, your drinks constantly refilled, and your bill very quickly. It’s overall above average, and it does a great job of positively impacting one’s experience at the place.
- There are a number of lunch specials and coupons available in the papers and on the menu. You can get a very, very cheap meal here if you’re smart.
- This is a place where a huge number of college kids and airmen go for lunch. Especially when school is in session, I suggest avoiding lunch hour if you can.
- If you must come here at peak hours, I would say you can rely on fast service in spite of the noise and crowds.