It might not be Cinco de Mayo any longer, but that can't stop the craving for good Mexican food. At El Rancho Grande, lunch got started with a basket of complimentary chips, served warm with a side salsa kick.
Although listed on the menu, guacamole wasn't available to be prepared tableside for $10, though the pre-made stuff at $4.50 that had chunks of avocado, diced tomato and onion, wasn't bad.
The mexicanisimos tamales ($6.50) are homemade corn meal stuffed with shredded beef, wrapped in corn husk, steamed, and served with red and green chili. The end product is a moist tamale, with good flavor, and just enough chili sauce. The dish includes two large tamales. And the corn husk isn't wrapped around it, which makes for an easier time digging in.
Tostadas ($13.25) include three, large crisp corn tortilla piled high with refried beans, lettuce, ground beef, shredded beef, or chicken, sour cream, cheese, and pico de gallo. The plate comes with sides of rice and beans. The dish is definitely suitable to share. And the freshness is especially evident in the crispness and temperatures of the ingredients; what's meant to be hot is hot, and cold components are cold.
El Rancho Grande's menu even features a generous vegetarian section. Among the items is the taco salad ($9) which is served in a crisp, bowl-shaped flour tortilla filled with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cucumbers, Monterrey jack, and cheddar cheese. The salad is topped with sour cream and guacamole.
Also of note is the refreshing sangria. The half-pitcher ($16) easily serves three people. It is brought in a chilled glass carafe and glasses with ice and a slice of orange.
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Overall, the food has a good clean taste. The portions are generous and filling. The menu is extensive and adaptable to a variety of preferences and diets. The outdoor seating on the sidewalk provides a pleasant atmosphere. The look is festive, complete with loud Mexican music overhead.
Besides North Beach, El Rancho Grande has locations in South Beach and Kendall. Delivery (until 10 p.m.) and catering are available.