Los Rancheros Do Everything Right – Shaw Local
DeKALB – From salsa and taco salad to kids meals and gargantuan burritos, Los Rancheros at DeKalb does it all.
Start with the ground beef taco salad. These can be a tricky call. Beef may be too salty or too fragrant. The shell can be a soggy mess. But not here. Everything lined up perfectly. The meat was both seasoned and cooked to perfection, and it was a plentiful portion inside the shell, paired mostly with lettuce. The dish was absolutely delicious and one of the best taco salads we have had.
As big as the taco salad was, it was eclipsed by the Burrito California, literally one of the biggest burritos you’ll ever see, except in a food challenge. And every element of the burrito is well done. It comes with a choice of meat and we went with the steak. Also inside are rice, mushrooms, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream. And on the outside, a cheese sauce accompanied by a salsa verde. The salsa verde got a little lost, but was absolutely brilliant when it was able to hold its own or stand out from the cheese sauce. Tangy but not overly spicy, it was what a tomatillo based sauce is supposed to be. You can’t go wrong ordering it, but you’ll probably have to split it in half or plan for leftovers.
To add culinary drama to its meal, the restaurant offers the freshly made-to-order guacamole prepared at the table as one of the appetizers. The menu notes that another specialty entree is queso fundido, featuring chorizo with hot melted Chihuahua cheese paired with poblano peppers and tomatoes.
The cuisine offers great variety in every classic category of Mexican cuisine. Shrimp lovers will find an array of options, as will vegetarians and people looking for tasty gluten-free dishes. The menu also indicates a variety of lunch dishes.
Enchiladas are usually ordered in threes, but they also come as a combo plate, where you can order two, perfect for a young eater who has outgrown a kids’ menu or anyone with a small appetite. The sauce was very smoky and had a kick.
The children’s meals were well standard and a big hit with the target audience. A young eater called the soft taco – they accommodated his request for flour instead of corn tortilla – perfect. The quesadilla was also a big hit, with a good amount of cheese inside.
And, of course, the fries and salsa were excellent – the salsa really carried the show. Clearly fresh, it has been prepared with the perfect balance of spices to let the other flavors shine through. Like all the rest of the menu that we were able to try, everything is well done on the agenda.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee of Shaw Media. The identity of the diner is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits another restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not post a review.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
WHAT: Los Rancheros
WHERE: 2350 Sycamore Road, Suite A, DeKalb