To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
You will know El Ranchito is special before you even get through the door, because there's often a line running out of it along Jefferson Boulevard. These aren't gringos waiting for fajitas while they twiddle their thumbs, but locals from the largely Latino neighborhood, and every time one of them opens the door loud mariachi music pours into the streets.
You can order fajitas if you want to, but the reason to come here are the authentic Mexican dishes the owners prepare with care. Tripas, mollejas (sweet breads) and an authentic beef stew are just a few of the dishes served here that hail from Northern Mexico and blow away your standard sour cream enchilada. Then there's the cabrito a la parilla.
Nearly everything tastes better when grilled, but there's something about the smell of goat roasting over open coals that particularly alluring -- the gamey goat flavors are enhanced by the subtle smoky perfume -- and because these goats are quite young, you won't have to worry about too much chewing to enjoy them.
Grab a tortilla, hold it in your palm and use a fork to scrape up as much cabrito as you can safely tuck inside. Make sure to grab a few onions and peppers while you're at it too, and if you're looking for heat, add maybe a sliver of jalapeno. Now paint the whole thing with a little of the salsa that's on your table. Tacos you build yourself always seem to taste a bit more delicious. Tacos filled with tender smoky goat meat might be the best tacos of all.
No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co. No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me No. 88: The Burgers at Off-Site Kitchen No. 87: The White Album at Spoon No. 86: Ramen at Tei An No. 85: Tacos at Revolver Taco No. 84: Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu No. 83: Korean Fried Chicken at Bonchon No. 82: Grilled Branzino at Tei Tei Robata No. 81: The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue No. 80: The Biryanis at Chennai No. 79: Shish Tawook at Qariah No. 78: Arepes at Zaguan No. 77: Goat Momo at Everest Restaurant No. 76: Steak Tartar at Gemma No. 75: Escabeche at Joyce and Gigi's No. 74: Spicy Fish in Oil at Royal Sichuan No. 73: Pupusas at La Pasadita No. 72: The Kathi Roll at Simply Dosa No. 71: The Chicken Wings at Teppo No. 70: Cheesesteak at Truck Yard No. 69: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's No. 68: Birria Tacos at Los Torres Taqueria No. 67: Bulgogi Cheesesteak at Say Kimchi No. 66: Suadero Tacos at La Banqueta No. 65: Brian Luscher's Post Oak Red Hot No. 64: Banana Flower Salad at Mot Hai Ba No. 63: Quatro Leches Cake At Mesero Miguel