Even a true Texan might find it hard to swallow The Ranch’s yee-haw! trappings at first: Western-shirt-adorned servers, cowhide-backed bar stools, craggy Hill Country rock formations and babbling brook in the foyer. Cowboy cliches? Sure. But there’s nothing questionable about chef Troy Walker’s taste. His deliciously bold flavors and farm-to-fork mantra—90 percent of The Ranch’s ingredients are locally sourced—permeate the menu of Lone Star favorites, elevating the familiar cuisine with gourmet flare. Start off with Walker’s Favorite Four sampler platter of queso blanco, oversize onion rings, mini Kobe beef tacos, and chicken-fried quail. Only the delicate quail disappointed, weighted down by its crispy but heavy breading. A Texas spin on the Harlem-bred chicken and waffles featured crispy fried chicken strips sitting atop a thin layer of whipped sweet potatoes and mini waffles. It was all smothered in a delicious jalapeño gravy and ancho maple glaze. This appetizer was so perfect in its blend of spicy, sweet, and savory that I’d happily go back and order it as an entrée. Big flavors dominate the traditional entrées as well, from chicken-fried steak with sausage gravy to the grilled chipotle meatloaf with smoked-tomato poblano salsa. The table eagerly devoured fall-off-the-bone tender baby back ribs coated in a Dublin, Texas, Dr Pepper barbecue sauce. Alas, the same could not be said for the fried catfish fillets. The cornmeal crust was clunky and meat a tad mushy. Though a dessert of mini fried apple pies was an adequate ending, I was more tempted to kick up my boot heels with one last Cadillac Rita, featuring Paula’s Texas Orange. The Austin-made citrus liqueur typified The Ranch experience: deliciously Texas. Can I get a yee-haw?
For more information on The Ranch at Las Colinas, visit our restaurant guide.