100 Favorite Dishes, No. 89: Cabrito and Masa at Smoke, Inspired by El Ranchito
To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
Kind of like a papusa, but the best papusa you've ever had.
El Ranchito has long been famous for its loud mariachi, big margaritas and cabrito a la parrilla, a dish of baby goat cooked until it's impossibly tender served with warm tortillas. Certainly you've heard of it; it was featured in our last rendition of 100 Favorite Dishes at No. 68, but in addition to inspiring hungry food writers, it has also inspired a notable chef in the same Oak Cliff neighborhood.
Tim Byres at Smoke cites the cabrito a la parrilla as the inspiration for his cabrito and masa dish, which takes the basic flavors of Mexico found in El Ranchito's dish and elevates them into something new and interesting, while still remaining honest.
The goat is cooked down into a highly flavorful, richly spiced filling that's tucked into masa like a papusa. The package sits in a small puddle of caramel sauce, and it's topped with a green apple salsa with plenty of tang. If that's not enough, there's goat sour cream, radish slices for texture and watercress shoots that add a little grassy freshness. The whole thing is seasoned aggressively with a dusting of cumin, which brings out the earthy goat flavors that lurk inside.
What a plate. And it will only set you back $13. You could argue that it belongs in this list twice, but that's probably just me making an excuse to pay Smoke another visit.
No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher
No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill
No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna
No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas
No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing
No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah
No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake
No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet
No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co.
No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me