Every town needs a local Mexican joint that serves simple home cooking. And if they can do a breaded veal cutlet sandwich as well, that’s OK too.
More and more, it’s becoming easier to find decent Mexican food in our neck of the woods, and thankfully, this is food that has nothing to do with running for the border, ifyouknowwhatimean. Recently, a new place opened up in Waretown called El Ranchero, and they indicated on the sign that they featured both Mexican and Italian cooking. While this might sound like an odd pairing, around here it’s not unusual. We have found that there are Italian restaurants here staffed primarily by Mexican cooks – so it makes sense that they would want to have Mexican dishes as well. The reality is that Italian food is seen as a safer bet, a way to hedge if you will. Some people may want to try carne asada, por ejemplo, but they’re more likely to want pizza with sausage and pepperoni.
Well, we wanted Mexican this day, so in we went. The restaurant, located in an older strip mall on Route 9, is very simply dressed: white all around with a few sombreros and a Mexican banner. But it was the food, not the decor, that we wanted to see…and taste.
We went with straightforward dishes: tamales, tacos and a breaded veal cutlet sandwich. They started us out with a basket of homemade tortilla chips and a guacamole that was not as thick as usual, but had much more of a kick which I really liked.
For the tacos, we went with one beef, one marinated pork, and one that was with pork skin. Yep – just pork skin. All three were nicely done and very tasty. And as good as the soft and fatty pieces of pork skin were, I couldn’t imagine eating three of them. Very heavy. Next time, we will have to try the tongue taco.
Is El Ranchero the best Mexican food we’ve ever had? No. But, if you want some good down home simple fare, it can fit the bill just fine. And in chatting with the folks there, they are a nice group of people that are very appreciative of their diners. We will be back – a few times, I imagine.
El Ranchero – Waretown Plaza, 529 Route 9, Waretown. 609.971.7049.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, El Ranchero closed in March 2011. Never saw the place get much traffic, so not really a surprise. – John