The Ranch at Las Colinas ~ Irving, Texas
The one exception to the home dining routine as mentioned yesterday was a business dinner earlier in the week. We had some of our company's sales folks in town, so that sounds to me like an expense account! My counterpart in crime, resident of Garland, suggested we meet at The Ranch at Las Colinas. And a good choice it was.
I should be able to keep this review pretty short. Basically The Ranch is a direct cross between Love and War in Texas and Cool River Cafe, both places we've reported on recently. From Love and War, they borrow the regionalized food-of-Texas concept. From Cool River, they bring the high quality steaks, upscale Hill Country atmosphere, and the bar scene.
So after having a couple of drinks at the bar with the Garland troublemaker, the rest of the party arrived and we sat down and got right into the menu (OK, maybe there were a couple of more drinks involved first...). We passed on appetizers (hey - none of us are under 45 - got to watch the calories here!) and dove into the dinner menu. I was in the mood for a steak and opted for the 12 oz. Cabernet Charbroiled Strip with smoked chili butter and a side of herb whipped potatoes. The steak was cooked to perfection, and had a wonderful distinct flavor no doubt due to the butter glaze. The potatoes were smooth and creamy, and the portion was just right, as it was served in a small individual container. I also tried a cup of the venison chili, which was fantastic. I didn't pay attention to what everyone else had, but the troublemaker went for the large portion of the chicken fried steak. Out came two huge and I mean HUGE slabs of brown...fried....meat. He was licking the plate as I looked over. One of the others opted for a full bowl of the venison chili and he enjoyed it as much as I. Predictably we passed on dessert as well (though Henry's Ice Cream is always a good choice)
Taken straight from their menu, here are the regional foods The Ranch advertises: "FRESH HERBS, SALAD MIX - STEPHENVILLE, TX / HONEY - ROUND ROCK, TX / COURSE GROUND GRITS - WACO, TX / DUBLIN DR. PEPPER - DUBLIN, TX*** / GULF COAST SHRIMP - BROWNSVILLE, TX / TORTILLAS - DALLAS, TX / FRESH BAKED BREAD - DALLAS, TX / REDFISH - PALACIOS, TX / GRAIN FED PNB - RED RIVER VALLEY, TX / FARM RAISED CATFISH - HUGHES SPRING, TX / SWEET BUTTER - GARLAND, TX / CHEESE - CLEVELAND, TX / CORNMEAL - DENTON, TX / RUM - AUSTIN, TX / SWEET 10:15 ONIONS - UVALDE, TX / RED ONIONS, CORN & GREEN BEANS - EMORY, TX CRAB - GALVESTON, TX / CHICKEN - NIXON, TX / TOMATOES - JACKSONVILLE, TX / FRESH BERRIES - LARUE, TX / BLEU CHEESE - DEEP ELLUM, DALLAS, TX / PICKLING CUCUMBERS - CISCO, TX / HENRY’S ICE CREAM - PLANO, TX"
*** - Unfortunately I doubt they have Dublin Dr. Pepper anymore, since the parent company just shut them down (who knows why? It's basically the original formula!). If they do, be sure to have one before they sell out.
Another aspect of The Ranch that the RJG applauds is their full selection of Texas microbrews from craft breweries like Rahr & Sons, Franconia, Saint Arnold, Real Ale and, of course, Shiner (not technically a microbrewery, but they have some unique beers beyond the usual Shiner Bock).
The Ranch is an excellent choice to take out of town guests or business associates. Pad your wallet though!