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El Rancho Grande

The meal begins with a basket of complimentary chips, served warm, and a side of salsa. The guacamole, which comes in a choice of two sizes ($4.50 and $10), is made tableside. Mexicanisimos tamales (two larges ones for $6.50) are homemade cornmeal stuffed with shredded beef, wrapped in corn husks, steamed, and served with red and green chilies. They boast good flavor and just enough chili sauce, and they're served without the corn husk wrapped around them, which makes digging in easier. Tostadas ($13.25) are three large crisply fried corn tortillas piled high with refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, and ground beef, shredded beef, or chicken. The dish comes with a side of rice and beans and is large enough to share. El Rancho Grande's menu also features a generous vegetarian section. Among the items is a taco salad ($9) that's served in a crisp, bowl-shaped flour tortilla filled with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cucumbers, Monterrey jack, and cheddar and topped with sour cream and guacamole. The freshness of all the food here is evident in the crispness and temperatures of the ingredients; what's meant to be hot is hot, and cold components are cold. 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 interior décor is festive, complete with loud Mexican music overhead. Staff is friendly, accommodating, and attentive.

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