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Sunday, December 20, 2009

El Rancho Grande Centerville

My wife and I visited the Centerville location of El Rancho Grande for supper. We decided to simply start driving and stop at whichever place caught our eye this time around. We had about an hour and 20 minutes to spend while the kids were occupied.

El Rancho Grande is eye catching, both from the street and inside. It has colorful Spanish inspired oversized artwork, and inside it has what appear to be stone arches that give it a south of the border feel.

When we sat down to eat, they brought out some tortilla chips and salsa for us to much on while we decided what to eat. There were so many selections that it was a bit difficult to decide. I'll also have to admit that even though I took a couple of years of Spanish way back in high school, I find it hard to remember what all of the Spanish menu selections are. (photos and descriptions on the back of the menu would be truly helpful for those who don't speak Spanish) I will give them a big plus for fast service - they were ready to take our order within just a few minutes, and they brought out our food only 9 or 10 minutes after we ordered. I was pleased to note that they were playing traditional Spanish music in the background.

We ended up getting combination platters for about $10 each. I had the #24, which was a chalupa, burrito and chile relleno. My wife had the #22 - a taco, burrito and rice & beans. The portions were generous, and neither of us were able to completely finish our food.

My favorite was the chalupa - sort of a large flat tortilla with melted cheese and salad toppings. It ended up heavy on the guacamole, which I love. Also, although I can handle horseradish hot, I just can't take much pepper heat at all, and the chalupa was mild. I also enjoyed the chile relleno, which is a cooked bell pepper portion filled to overflowing with melted cheese. However, it was a bit on the spicy side, and my nose was running by the time I finished it. Then I tackled the burrito, which was filled with a very finely diced meat mixture. The taste was excellent, but it was just too spicy for me. Plus, we were feeling rather full by that time. If you can handle more than a mild level of spiciness in mexican food, it probably wouldn't be an issue for you.

Room for improvement department: I'm all for CFL energy saving bulbs, but not when they are installed only a few feet from your eye and unshielded in any way. I looked around and saw that all the booths had been equipped with these. If you're unfamiliar with them, they can really cut down on energy use, but they often seem almost glaringly white and bright. When dining out in a booth, you really want a subdued, yellow light - not something that hurts your eyes. I'm hoping that El Rancho Grande will install some of the CFL bulbs that have a frosted, diffusing glass layer to make it easy on the eyes.

Location: 1020 Miamisburg Centerville Rd. (south side route 725, between Lyons & Paragon Rd)
telephone: (937) 610-3456
Open 7 days a week

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