9530 Viscount Blvd
El Paso, TX, 79925
I Ate: The rib-eye (10 oz) with onion rings, salad bar, hot apple cider, chocolate layer cake
Price: ~$19 + tax/tip
|There are two Rancher's Grill restaurants in El Paso; I dropped in
at their East Side location, on I-10's Gateway West Blvd (Westbound) just
past Viscount Blvd. Rancher's Grill serves steak and other dishes.
I got a late start that night and was looking for someplace that was still open. A neon sign outside the Rancher's Grill beckoned; "OPEN - no waiting!" Excellent; I pulled up. The posted closing time was 10pm, and it was already 9:45, but they were still happy to seat me. The waiter suggested two of their chicken dishes, but this was a steak restaurant, and that's what I wanted to try. I was steered away from their big pound-and-a-half T-bone, possibly because it was so late and that thick steak would've taken a long time to grill.
When asked what I wanted to drink, I asked (as I usually do) whether they had any apple cider. I'm usually disappointed, but they surprised me; they had hot cider available. I ordered a mug. It was aromatic, and cleansing to my palate, though it might've been better with some spices added.
First up was the salad bar, a well-stocked table with lots of trimmings. Lettuce, spinach, lots of mushrooms, grated carrots, sliced red onion, two colored grated cheese with blue cheese dressing on top made my salad. There were plenty of other choices, other veggies, and some desserts for the children; I'll admit, the chocolate pudding with crumbled chocolate cookies gave me pause. I resisted the temptation, though it was a close thing.
While I was busy demolishing the salad, my waiter let on that Rancher's Grill was a Cattle Baron wanna-be, aiming to provide similar service for less money. With a little prompting, he also mentioned that both Rancher's Grill restaurants used to be K-Bobs 'til the central company began demanding too much in franchise fees.
It wasn't very long until my entree arrived, a fair sized rib-eye steak. I'd ordered a side of onion rings, but apparently the waiter thought I wanted them substituted for what would normally have come with the steak. That's fine, I liked it better that way.
The waiter offered two different varieties of steak sauce, and ketchup for the onion rings; I declined the ketchup, though I did take some steak sauce to dip my rings into. The steak was grilled au jus, with fairly good flavor, though it was on the tough side. I'm starting to get used to it, though it still troubles me why Texas has such lousy beef? Still, it was an honestly cooked steak, and I enjoyed it.
Done with the main course, I didn't hesitate much before ordering dessert, a pretty big slice of chocolate layer cake. Decorated somewhat messily with chocolate sauce and whipped cream, it was good cake, dense as a fallen souffle. It was a fitting end to a good dinner.
Whether the Rancher's Grill was aiming to emulate the Cattle Baron or not, they did a pretty good job at it; the cuisine was pretty close, and the prices were lower, though their quality was a bit lower as well. I can't really fault them for serving what they could find available. I'll probably return to the Rancher's Grill one day.
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