Taqueria Ranchos Las Delicias has been open for some time now and we are constantly hearing a great chatter about the food. So, this being a particularly grey and rainy fall day, my friend and I figured it was as good a time as any to check out the vibrant, cheerful neighborhood spot. And we were not disappointed upon entering. The place was hopping with a healthy local work crowd, which was a welcome sign. That it was “taco Tuesday” was not lost on us.
We were immediately greeted and welcomed with warm, fresh tortilla chips. We soon added an order of guacamole to round out this initial offering, and thus our meal began. The chips, while served warm and freshly fried, were not as satisfying as they could have been. The frying oil could have been a tad fresher, leaving a taste that clouded the freshness of the avocado, and the piquancy of the salsa.
My dining companion ordered three different tacos, opting out of anything pork or organ-based for personal reasons. Therefore, pollo (chicken), molido (ground beef), and barbacoa (beef brisket) were easily chosen from a selection that included al pastor (pork tips with pineapple and onion), carnitas (pork), chorizo (sausage), lengua (tongue), and tripe (stomach). They came out in the typical traditional double corn shelled fashion, yet in this case seemed slightly underfilled… maybe to leave room for all of the toppings at the salsa station? My companion adjusted the proportions by utilizing the generous toppings, but I felt that the ratio of carb to protein was off kilter.
That said, the topping and salsa bar was the cleanest, freshest, and best maintained I’ve seen yet in this area. That fact, and the salsas alone, will get me back in for another go I’m sure. Also of note, it was a real positive that the sauces and accompaniments could stand on their own, because the different proteins also felt a touch one note, especially with a preparation such as barbocoa (needing to be braised in spices for a lengthy period of time) the meat should come out with much more of a discernible flavor.
Next up, I ordered a vegetarian burrito, not for its authentic culinary depiction, but with the idea in mind that there should be more plant-based additions to the local restaurant landscape. I do feel it necessary to always add real vegetarian representation to my reviews, even if the options are somewhat slim. But today that decision ended up costing me. Not that I was expecting a San Franciscan Mission-style stuffed-to-the-gills burrito, but this was an oversized flour shell, meagerly filled with what looked and tasted to be a Normandy-style waterlogged, frozen vegetable blend.
Yes, the usual suspects were there – bell pepper, tomato, onion, broccoli, cauliflower (I think), and squash. However in other local Mexican joints the vegetables are fresh, much more plentiful, and usually rounded out with some mushroom and freshly cooked spinach. In this case, there wasn’t even a sauce to help adhere the filling to the shell, so once cut with a steak knife it magnified this problem even more. Yes there was a cheese sauce on the outside of the shell, and rice on the plate. And thankfully I ordered a side of beans for some protein, however if all of these had been combined inside it would have led to a somewhat better overall result.
All of this being said, I would give Taqueria Rancho another try. There are plenty of other options on the menu, and what we ordered certainly may not be the best representation of what their kitchen can do. It’s just how our experience unfolded, which was too bad because a number of my friends have been talking the place up. That said, the shining star – the salsa bar – means that they’re putting some real effort into the operation. But I would steer clear of the veggie burrito, and stick with a meat-based dish. Check them out and decide for yourself – judging by how busy it is, they have definitely garnered a loyal fan base. Plus, the staff is super attentive – they were constantly asking how everything was, and clearing and cleaning the tables promptly. Like I said, we will be back to try some more of the offerings, because we’ve read so many great reviews about the authenticity of their food!
Taqueria Ranchos Las Delicias | 1516 Niagara Street | Buffalo, New York 14213 | (716) 882-2800 | Full bar | Patio | Facebook