After attending a meeting in Forest Park yesterday, I swung by Taco Rancho, the new taqueria from Chef Jose Rego (formerly of Allegro). I first heard about this place in a write-up Bob Townsend did for the AJC. I had a very good meal at Allegro before their demise, so I had high expectations, which were almost completely diminished as I drove through the desolate State Farmer’s Market to find the place. Finally, the quaint and isolated restaurant appeared.
The interior is very vibrant and clean, most definitely not a dive taqueria joint. Unlike many small taquerias, the menu offers the full spectrum of Mexican food for lunch (not open for dinner) – tacos, burritos, tortas, quesadillas, soups, whole chickens, and more. In addition, they serve breakfast, mostly a eggs, beans, chorizo, or a combination thereof in sandwich, plate, or burrito form.
As this was just a quick snack, I sauntered on over to the counter while I scanned the menu and ordered two tacos – one beef cheek (cachete), and one carnitas. (unrelated – what’s the difference between a saunter and a mosey? I think with a mosey, one would perhaps be wearing cowboy boots. Just a thought.)
The two tacos, served on amazingly thin and smooth white corn tortillas which had been quickly firmed up on the griddle, arrived quickly. The carnita taco was a pleasant mix of both shredded and large chunks of pork, neither one dry. I didn’t get too much spice flavoring on the carnitas, but perfectly juicy pork doesn’t really have to have much flavor added to be great.
The beef cheek, which was slathered in a tomato based sauce which made the whole dish very reminiscent of beef stew, was also excellent, due to the tenderness of the fork tender and gelatinous beef.
These were some damn fine tacos.
Also of note, in the brief couple of minutes before my tacos arrived, some chips hit my table and the waiter pointed me to the salsa bar, which features five to six good looking salsas. I tried the salsa roja with cacahuate (peanuts ya gringo), which was fiery and smooth and excellent.
I’m not sure if I’d drive 30 minutes to hit up Taco Ranch very often, but it’s definitely destination worthy if you are on the south side of town.