365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
Ogre always rolls his eyes when I try to make plans with our good friends Ashish and Reina. Not that I’m blaming Reina for any of this. Ashish are HORRIBLE at making plans and sticking to them. Usually, which Ogre doesn’t get, Ashish and I are happy to make last minute are you available for lunch, like now, plans and be done with it. If not, fine, if so, great. Ashish and Reina are the most travel happy people we know and I’m working all the time so it’s hard for us to make the ahead of time plans that Ogre appreciates. Our current plans for dinner have been in the works for oh, two months now with several reschedulings. But here we are and with Ashish’s lame attempt to fool me with “something came up” in a text earlier today when I texted to confirm dinner did not sit well with Ogre who told me to “shut up.” Alas, he and I were only kidding and we met at their new place before dinner at Matt’s Rancho Martinez.
Ogre and I know this place as Matt’s El Rancho, as we have lived and eaten there in Austin. Ogre could not forget the expose by one of the news stations in Austin back in the 90s that sensationalized their E. Coli counts in the sauce. I told him to chill out and that I did not want to hear or think about that tonight. It’s actually the son of the originator of Matt’s El Rancho who started the restaurant here in Dallas.
We were off to a late start and had quite the wait at the restaurant after we arrived. I suspect we waited 30-45 minutes for a table. A kind hostess gave the kids a balloon. We initially toughed it out by the door, but then joined Ashish and Ogre at the bar. Ashish was able to keep Mina happy by offering her chips, and Benji also enjoyed the chips for awhile after the balloon lost its shininess. Ogre had to be the holder of Benji as Benji has turned into quite the “daddy’s boy” in the last few weeks. Fine with me, I’ll let him deal with the Benjoid any day. Mina loves eating with Reina and Ashish and today was no exception. Come on, when you have TWO kid loving people to play with it how could you not look forward to eating with the Patels??!
Reina let Mina wear her gloves, which Mina thought was totally cool. Then Mina and Benji were hiding under the bar rail, which made us all laugh. Of course, when I tried to take a picture, Benji decided he was done with that. We did our best to keep the kids entertained while we waited and I have to give kudos to the kids who were very patient while we waited!
FINALLY, we were seated and Mina decided where we would all sit, particularly Uncle Ashish. We sat Benji down in his seat and his seat was apparently perfect for flirting with his new girlfriend, Reina, or has he says, “Ree-ning.” He started with a rousing game of Peek a Boo and she was melting. Who wouldn’t??
Meanwhile, Mina started coloring her placemat and Benji followed suit allowing Reina and I to have some normal adult conversation!
We ordered our drinks and some queso and continued to engage in good conversation. I realized on the way home what Ashishand Mina were discussing on the way home with Mina’s unending questions. Thanks, Uncle A! I love to field questions about drinking blood and turning into vampires right before bedtime! I have NO idea how this subject even came to be!!
Anyway, the queso came out and we were all pretty excited about that and thought it tasted great. Problem was nobody was coming around to refill our basket and we still hadn’t seen any sign of our drinks! In fact, we’d eaten most of the queso when our waiter came to drop off chips and take our order and we STILL didn’t have our drinks!!
We put in our order and continued on with the queso. Benjamin was pretty content and Mina had now somehow infiltrated Ashish’s space. He didn’t seem to mind, so I let it be. Mina came running over to me and asked me how to spell fat. I replied “P-H-A-T.” She was not pleased and told me I was wrong, it was “F-A-T.” Apparently, Ashish had told her it was P-H-A-T also. I told her she should ask Reina since she is much more kind that Ashish or me!
Our drinks finally came out and Reina and I nursed ours and Ogre’s sucked his down. I looked over at Ashish’s drink, which way do you think he aligned with? Reina and I… he was also nursing his drink!
Good think we’re getting something that makes us not so judgmental of slow service, ’cause it was certainly slow tonight!!
Our entrees eventually came out and we all dug in. No huge problems with the kids at dinner tonight. I did remind Mina to allow Ashish to actually have some space and time to eat his dinner, which I can only hope happened.
As dinner started to wind down, Mina and Ashish decided that it would be fun to make static hair with the balloon. Mina thought this was HILARIOUS and particularly enjoyed messing up Reina’s hair. Sorry, Reina, my kids are freakish!!
Benji did a great job eating his dinner, and, actually, Mina did a great job with her quesadillas, also. Since the kids had done a great job with dinner, we decided we’d go ahead and order dessert. We decided on our old standby, the flan and the more unusual Chocolate Taco.
While we waited on the desserts, Mina discovered a skin tag on Ashish’s neck. Yeah, pretty gross, but since Ogre has had some in the past and the rest of are physicians, it became the topic of conversation. Mina even decided to immortalize it with the camera while I tried to subtly suggested getting it “taken care of.”
Benjamin was also unhappy now and required Ogre to do some fancy “face work” with the tortilla to keep Benji in good spirits!
Thankfully, we were all distracted by the arrival of desserts. We all worked on stuffing as much dessert in as we could. When Benji was done, he decided to impress Reina with another game of peek a boo from under our table.
After we finished the desserts off the best we could, we settled the tab and got outta there!
It’s tex-mex, folks, and nothing to write home to mom about.
The queso was really good!! Nice and cream and not too much bell pepper flavor, which is always great for me!
I ordered the Super Burrito with pork and this was truly disappointing. The green sauce was actually very good (you could also get Ranchera Sauce if you wanted). The pork was way over cooked -I’m talkin’ to the point where it was difficult to chew the meat and it had a carbon flavor to it that was NOT welcome!!
Ogre order the Beef Tenderloin Fajitas. I tried these and these were good. He did mention that they were a little over cooked, but that was the only offering of commentary we received.
Ashish ordered the Classic Red Enchilada and I suppose he liked it -the sauce was not overly spicy and it had a good flavor).
Reina ordered their “world-famous” Chile Relleno. Interestingly, it comes topped with nuts and raisins. Cool if you like that kind of thing, I suppose!
Desserts were good. The flan was “okay,” but definitely not nearly as good as Mario’s Chiquita!
I’d be stretching to give this place a good review about their service. We got to the restaurant around 7:15 and were not seated for almost and hour. There is not that much waiting space. Our drinks were taken by a different person than our waiter and it was difficult to know what was going on with those drinks. I did not feel attended to here and the tempo of the food coming out was too slow!
Average kid friendliness. Sure they have kids activities and kids menu items, but not spectacularly kid friendly.
I would come here if it was suggested and set on by friends, but I wouldn’t suggest it myself. There are too many other great Tex-mex restaurants in Dallas!!
The total: 131. 93 ( 4 adults, 7 margaritas)
Our Patel buddies are vegetarians, so if your family has a vegetarian in it, this might be a great choice for you guys!!
Childsplate.com chronicles our journey to find the perfect family restaurant. We are looking for restaurants with excellent food and a great attitude towards kids, even the whiny, cranky ones! We will be headed out to a different restaurant every single day to provide ourselves (and you) with some entertainment and good information about DFW area restaurants. We hope you will visit frequently and use our experiences to create some fun dining experiences of your own! Watch out, DFW, the Phipps family is going out to eat!