Orange, NJ 07050
- Cost: $$
- Alcohol: Full Bar
- Parking: Private Lot
- Take Out: Yes
February 10, 2012
Update – February 2012
El Rancho is hard to beat for its exuberant atmosphere and attentive service. When we go early for dinner on a Friday night with the kids, the place is empty and we have our choice of tables. Soon enough, more tables fill up and the owner starts playing guitar and singing Ranchero classics.
The food is still solid, with a wide selection of both common and less common Mexican dishes. Try the tamales, the excellent tortilla soup or the creamy thick sopa de frijol (black bean soup).
Review – February 2010
First discovered this place when it was called El Bandido. New ownership in March 2009 changed the name to El Rancho Grande, but the food quality, friendly service and festive atmosphere remain the same.
Everyone gets a warm, cheese-filled soft tortilla as a sort of Mexican amuse-bouche. Decent homemade salsa and guacamole. A nice range of dishes from tacos, chimichangas and enchiladas to more interesting and tasty specialties like Huauchinango a la Veracruzana (fish filet with tomato sauce, olives, onions, and red peppers) and Tampiquena Naca (broiled steak with Mexican green peppers in a cream sauce). The kitchen is also willing to make dishes to order, like fish tacos for my wife. After dinner, a complimentary Sweet Chimichanga – a crispy flour tortilla stuffed with banana and served warm with maple syrup (Mexican maple trees?) – was a nice surprise.
El Rancho is a stand-alone house with its own parking lot in the back. Maybe ten tables in a small dining room with nooks that make it seem larger. There is a full bar off to one side and the owner played Mariachi guitar the last Friday evening we were there. Yet another place supporting my theory that wall paintings signal good ethnic food. El Rancho’s walls are covered with colorful murals depicting, let’s say, eclectic visions of Mexico, including a few of the original restaurant’s Bandidos. Moderately expensive and most customers aren’t Mexican, but El Rancho Grande is authentic and fun.
Try the: Queso Derritido con Chorizo (Melted Cheese with Mexican sausage), Chiles Rellenos (Stuffed Peppers), Camarones (Shrimp) Mexican Style